A child heading off to college is a bittersweet moment for parents. On one hand, you’re happy and excited for your baby. But on the other, you’re sad and anxious because you’ll no longer be seeing them every day. So, before sending them off on their merry way, have a heart-to-heart conversation about what to expect in the future. Share these 5 healthy tips for college students to help them succeed in their real-world “adulting” journey!
But before we get to the actual tips, it’s important to mention that preparing for college – and beyond – starts well before high school graduation. None of these tips will be effective if you only teach them a few days before they leave for college!
1) Building good habits
College success is predicated on a lot of things, but bad habits aren’t one of them. Encourage your kid to let go of bad habits and replace them with good ones. Since habit formation takes anywhere from a few weeks to several months, share this tip well in advance.
Here are examples of good habits for college students:
- Waking up early to prepare for the day
- Having a to-do list every day
- Eating a healthy breakfast before leaving for class
- Setting up a study schedule at the library after classes
- Blocking off a certain time of day to work on schoolwork
- Squeezing in time to exercise every day
- Saying no to extracurricular activities that will distract you from schoolwork
- Getting enough quality sleep at night
2) Being financially savvy
Kids need to learn the basics of personal finance at a young age. They shouldn’t be spending all their money willy-nilly, without any thought of tomorrow. They need to learn how to budget their money and make it last.
Getting a part-time job can help them learn the value of money. Since they’re trading their time to earn cash, they’ll be more likely to spend it wisely. Plus, they may even be more motivated to actually start saving for rainy days.
Another finance tip you can share is for them to track their cash flow, so they know exactly where their money is going. This will help them budget, cut back on unnecessary expenses, and focus on increasing their savings.
3) Health and self-care
Sending your child off to college means they’ll finally be living independently, which means they need to look after themselves nutrition-wise and hygiene-wise. In many cases, this is easier said than done… school is taxing enough, now they need to feed themselves and clean up after (mom/dad won’t be there to remind them 24/7).
That said, teach your kid the importance of eating healthy food. Instead of eating out all the time, they can invest in dorm-friendly cooking appliances like a microwave oven or an instant pot. Having a fridge can help the food last longer, too.
If your teen isn’t getting enough nutrients through diet, how about introducing them to the benefits of high-quality dietary supplements? Here are a few examples:
- Magnesium – helps calm nerves and promote good quality sleep
- Phosphatidylserine – helps improve memory, concentration, and learning ability
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – an important nutrient needed by the brain, heart, and body
4) Taking responsibility for their actions
Partying is perfectly fine, but make sure your kid understands every action they make has a consequence. If they choose to prioritize their social life over their academics, that’s on them. If they start flunking as a result, they need to take responsibility instead of blaming their friends or the school’s awesome party scene.
Explain to them how you won’t be there to clean up their messes. So, whatever sticky situation they get themselves into, they need to know how to get out of it. This will turn them into adults real fast, especially when they realize you’re not bluffing.
Another healthy tip for college students is to teach them the importance of self-control and self-discipline – they’ll need loads of it in college! The good thing is that once they learn how to rein in their emotions and control their actions, it will be easier for them to say “no” to anything counterproductive.
5) Social skills
No man is an island, especially in college! Your teen will be meeting new people left and right. From their dormmates, classmates, the people they meet at their job and extracurricular activities, and of course, friends of friends!
Building relationships in college can lead to professional relationships later on. How? Well, when your kid enters the workforce, knowing the right people can often be advantageous. I mean, let’s face it… in certain situations, “who” you know can also come in handy in addition to “what” you know.
Obviously, it doesn’t mean your kid should choose their friends based on how that person can help in the future. But it pays to be friendly and kind to everyone, so do share this tip with your kid.
Which healthy tips for college students have you shared with your kid already? Personally, I’m working on #4 and #5 with my preschooler. I’ll deal with #1-3 when he’s a bit older… got to start them young!