The day that you first brought your son or daughter home from the hospital, you probably thought, “I have so much time to get them ready to be an adult.” Now you look up and they are either entering their first years in elementary school or even high school and you’re realizing that time goes by much faster than you would have ever dreamed.
This means that college is approaching sooner than you would have ever thought too.
So, when it comes to some of the basic skills that your child needs in order to thrive while in college, there’s definitely no time like the present to get them in place. Although there are many, we have five “must-haves” that we recommend that every parent instill in their child:
Good study habits. For some kids, school (or at least certain classes in school) comes naturally to them. Therefore, they don’t think that they need to put in much study time. The reality is that if there are not good study habits like reading, doing subject drills and going over test papers now, then no matter how “naturally smart” they are, they will still find themselves overwhelmed by their college work load. The more used they are to making time to study now, the better off they will be.
Financial planning. College teaches you how to make a dollar stretch in miraculous ways. It also shows you how taxing things can be if you don’t budget wisely. There are a lot of people with poor credit scores now and it’s directly related to their defaulted college loans that often come from misspending while in school. Kids need a savings account and to be taught the importance of budgeting as soon as possible. Even for little kids, that can start with having a piggy bank and playing online money games such as the ones found on FunBrain.com.
Computer skills. When we were in college, a lot of us didn’t even need a computer to get good grades. These days, a lot of teachers communicate with their students online, study sessions are held via Skype and notes are taken and recorded on iPhones. Your child simply will not thrive in college (or even elementary school) without having some solid computer skills, so make sure that they have them.
Communication. There is nothing that we can get in life without being able to properly communicate our wants and needs. Some parents pride themselves on seemingly being able to “read their child’s mind”, but when they don’t encourage clear communication like stating what you want, asking questions for clarification or even not being able to stand up for yourself, that can stifle a child’s growth and development for years to come. A child has to be able to communicate now so that they can properly connect and engage later.
How to deal with challenges. No one always gets their way. Ye, sometimes life hands you really unexpected disappointments. If you don’t know how to cope, you will have a hard time remaining focused and positive so that you can get through difficult times. Whether your child wants to be a lawyer, an accountant or even go from a RN to BSN degree, there are going to be peaks and valleys. The sooner that they learn how to deal with tough times (stating your feelings, giving yourself time to “feel” them, then coming up with a new plan), the better they will be at “rolling with the punches”—both in and out of college.