Please enjoy this fab guest post for when your child goes to uni from a blogging friend of mine, Mel from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover. She is one of my closest blogging friends and I am proud to be able to showcase her on my blog.
Hi, my name in Mel and I blog at The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover. In September my son went to university for the first time. I am incredibly proud of my son but it was an adjustment process for me. He is a big part of my life and before he went I would even wake up at night crying. I know it seems silly now but I was just worried about him. The ’empty nest syndrome’ as it’s called hit me hard, even before he went. I think part of it was because he never really seemed that grown up and I wasn’t sure how he would cope.
Well he has finished his first term and he’s enjoying himself. In fact by the time he actually went I had come to terms with him leaving home. Here are some tips to help you as a parent when your child moves out and goes to uni or college for the first time.
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Prepare Them For The Practicalities
Knowing that they can do their own washing, cook a nutritionally balanced meal and not splurge their money in the first week can be very reassuring, so help them by going through these issues with them. They may be totally capable of sorting this out or they may need your help, but knowing that you have asked them and helped if needed can be very beneficial to both parent and child.
Showing how to use the washing machine, explaining about not mixing whites and coloured and how to use the temperatures and settings is useful if they haven’t much experience doing their own laundry. A chat about nutrition and how they can get their 5 a day is also useful – some teenagers may not know that fresh juice can be one of your five a day as well as pulses like baked beans.
Teach them how to cook at least three decent meals on a budget, such as spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie and stir fry then buy them a student cookbook for other inspiration.
Discuss their budget with them – working out how much they can spend on themselves after all the bills and food are taken out will help them plan their money for the term.
Make registering with a GP and dentist if they live far from home a priority. If they don’t watch live TV, get them to inform the TV licence people so they don’t have to have a licence.
Encourage them to join clubs and societies and make new friends from people they live with or those that are in their uni. Remind them every first year student is in the same boat and most won’t know anyone there.
Make Use Of The Extra Time
Spend more time with your partner, take up a new hobby or interest, read more and take that trip around Europe you have been meaning to. Some mums return to work if they haven’t worked since their child was born or think about taking a course at university or college themselves.
Support Sites And Friends
Sites such as Mumsnet have forum threads for parents of teens, for support and advice. Use your family and friends as a support network if you feel down. Why don’t you go out for lunch with your mum or best friend to cheer yourself up?
Check in with them on a regular basis during the first few weeks, just to make sure they are doing OK. Skype, Facetime and Facebook are all free to use, you just need a wi-fi connection. I know this helped me greatly, finding out what my son was doing, and helping with any problems that came up. We had an intense Facebook conversation on the first day when he has problems connecting to the wi-fi network!
It’s only natural in the early days to want to speak to your child on a regular basis but as they settle in, and hopefully enjoy the course and the lifestyle, let them have more space. Hopefully if you have helped prepare them for uni life they will start to get confident in their abilities to look after themselves, and this in turn will reassure you.
These are some tips for parents. How did you manage when your child went to uni? Do you have any tips? If you have been to uni yourself if there anything you had wish you had known?