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30 Aug 2017
Their results are in, and in a few weeks’ time they’re gonna be off. It’s an exciting but also nerve-wracking experience for everyone involved – how are you going to cope with that empty space at the dinner table?
How is it possible that your baby is old enough to be going off to university and off into the big wide world on their own? There are so many things you haven’t had a chance to do yet!
Give your son or daughter the best start possible at university with this list of everything you need to do before you’re emotionally helping them pack up their bedroom.
1. Teach them how to do the washing
There’s a good chance your child is already doing their own washing but, even so, a refresher course might be useful. Many students don’t have a washing machine, especially in the halls of residence, so it’s a good idea to teach them how to get the most from their pound coins while avoiding any red sock incidents! Teach them where to put the liquid and fabric conditioner, how to read clothing labels, how to use a drier, how to remove stains and importantly, how to separate whites and colours!
2. Buy them a student cookbook and practice a few recipes
Student cookbooks are a great idea if your child doesn’t have much cooking experience – the recipes are usually fairly simple and involve a lot of cheap and basic ingredients. They usually cover the bases, and you can get loads of different versions from vegan to gluten free. Get your child to play chef by practising a few dishes, and don’t forget to teach them some of your secret family recipes!
Even if your son or daughter is going to be in catered accommodation they might still need the odd supermarket trip for snacks or weekend food. Getting them to help with food shopping is a great opportunity to teach them about budgeting, understanding the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, looking at the ‘price per 100g’ and letting them decide if those 3 for 2 deals are worth the money! It also fits in perfectly with learning to cook, if you can teach them that a basic homemade pasta sauce is a third of the price of a fancy jarred one!
Even in furnished accommodation or halls, there are still plenty of things you will need to buy for your students’ room, from a waste paper bin to knives to pots and pans, shower gel and towels! Check first what will be included in their room or flat – many have kettles, toasters and microwaves - and then work together on writing a list of everything you’ll need to get. Getting them to choose will help them feel more responsible for their new space!
We hate to break it to you, but it’s more than likely that your child will get Freshers’ flu, and the last thing they‘ll want when they’re poorly is to realise they don’t have any paracetamol! Get them a Freshers’ flu kit of cold and flu tablets, Lucozade, tissues, sore throat sweets and hand sanitiser. They’ll thank you when they’re calling you from bed and have to look after themselves for the first time!
As much as they might deny it, they’re going to miss you while they’re away, so try to drag them out of their bedroom for a few hours so you can actually spend some time together before they go away! If they’re staying on campus, be sure to visit some of their favourite places at home before they go, and, if you can a chance, take a holiday together!
Student bank accounts have lots of benefits including free overdrafts which can make life easier if you know your student isn’t the best at budgeting! Make sure to compare options before you commit, and ensure you choose a bank that has a branch nearby your student’s university. But don’t forget to remind them that an overdraft is for emergencies...not happy hour at the Union!
Nobody enjoys cleaning up, and it’s a tough lesson to learn that once you move out, you have to be the one to do the cleaning! Make sure they learn the basics of washing up, vacuuming and cleaning a kitchen and bathroom, especially if they have to share with others.
You might think you’ll relish the peace and quiet, but when your teen goes off to university there’s likely to be a bit of an empty space in your life for a while. Make sure you have a plan for what you’re going to do with some of that free time. Whether you take up a new hobby or just take some time to yourself, make sure you have something to look forward to when your nest is a little emptier.