Transitioning Children to College

Read this enlightening post to glean professional tips on smoothing the transition to college for your children.




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    Transitioning Children to College

    Transitioning Children to College

    The start of college is a profoundly important stage in a child’s life. It doesn’t just represent the continuation of his or her intellectual development or the setting of a foundation for a future career, but it marks an important step into adulthood.

    Parents play a crucial role in helping their children make that transition an enjoyable and successful one. Here are some ways to manage your child’s transition to college.

    Six Tips for Making the College Transition Smoother

    1. Keep the Helicopter in the Hangar—Parents need to fight the urge to dominate a child’s decision-making leading up to and after entering college. As much as your child will continue to need you, parents need to recognize that the dynamic of the parent-child relationship has changed. Respecting this will not only help a child grow into his or her emerging adulthood, but the added degree of self-determination will make the transition more fun and rewarding for your child.
    1. Teach Financial Responsibility—Consider a debit card with a set dollar amount, or one that is funded monthly with a pre-determined amount. This gives your child control over his or her spending, while providing the opportunity to learn important financial skills, such as prioritizing spending and budgeting.
    2. Don’t Leave “The Talk” to Move-In Day—There are a host of serious issues that need to be discussed between parents and their child, and are best not left to the last minute. Key conversation topics include: personal safety, responsible behavior and finances, as well as a range of expectations from staying in touch to grades. Talk about how to manage the increased social pressures of alcohol and drug use, what expenses are acceptable to you, the proper use of a car (if permitted), and whether joining a fraternity or sorority is a good idea.
    3. Keep the Move Simple—Remember, dorm rooms are quite small. Keep clothes to the basics and what’s appropriate for the season. If getting to college involves flying, consider pre-ordering essentials, like soap and bedding for pick-up at a location near the college, or buy them locally.
    4. Stay In Tune—Freshman year can be very stressful for young adults. It’s fraught with changes and challenges. Be on the lookout for mood changes, irritability, and loss of interest or social withdrawal as signs that your child may need help.
    1. Take Care of Yourself—The best strategy to reducing a child’s stress is to reduce your own. Be sure to renew or find new interests or activities to fill the void.

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