Somehow, your kid is heading off to college, or will be within a year or two. How did THAT happen?! Aside from all the work of getting into school, stress of paying for it, and anxiety over roommates, it is critical that you send your teen to campus with more than bedding and books. This is a transitional phase into adulthood, and you won’t be there to pick up all the pieces if something goes wrong. Before you launch (or toss) your kids into this next phase, it is worth reviewing a few critical skills your kid needs to know to be a successful emerging adult.
Money management Your college-bound child needs to know just how far a dollar goes (and how to stop there). Is he regularly asking for extra money? Does she take for granted that you are going to cover her expenses? Does he overdraft his checking account? Does she put money in savings? If you are still paying for things, consider establishng a monthly allowance and require your child to make the payments on luxuries like cell phones, gasoline and online video game memberships (and put some of it in savings).
Communal-living skills Your kid is about to share a living space with people other than family. (Finally, all those years of assigning them chores will pay off. Yeah, right!) Does he pick up after himself? Does she finish chores without being nagged? Does he keep his living space relatively sanitary (if not necessarily neat)? If not, it’s time to discuss being considerate of others (i.e., you are not a child any more), personal accountability (i.e., people shouldn’t have to remind you over and over), and personal responsibility (i.e., I am not your maid) with your kid. It’s also time for him do his own laundry.
Keeping his/her own schedule Soon, your kid will need to completely manage her own appointment calendar. Does he get up on time for school? Does she keep appointments? Does she remember school assignments and exams? Have him use that damnable cell phone to remember his own appointments and fulfill obligations. If something falls through the cracks, sit down withher to review how it happened. Have her modify the plan and try it again and again and again until it works.