Do you have a kid who is heading off to college soon? It is crazy, but that day will be arriving next year for me. My daughter will be entering college next fall and I wonder if I have taught her all she should know. I worry if my daughter knows the the important things college bound kids should know. It keeps me up at night. I wonder if I have taught her enough life skills to prepare her for living on her own.
Will she be able to do her school work without me reminding her? Will she get up on time? Will she remember to separate her dark clothes from the whites? Do you feel you are heading into panic mode wondering if your kid is ready to make it in college? My goal is to celebrate my daughter’s first year of college with pride and joy in stead of worry and concern! Here are the 10 things I want her to know before she leaves the nest:
1. Time Management: This is a big one for us as Caitlin lacks on this front. She, like me, waits until the last minute to do everything. I get up late, I put projects off, I do homework an hour before it is due. Yeah, she gets it honest. This year, I will let her fail at this a few times to let her see how important it is to do things in a timely fashion.
2. Laundry: I have been doing my kids laundry their entire lives. I am pretty sure they think it leaves their room dirty and returns clean, like a magic trick! Now my kids can sort their dark and white clothes, check their pockets, use cold water to wash and even how to fold! I know, right?!
3. Have Integrity: When you go out into the adult world, there is a new level of temptation out there. From everything like pressure to drink and have sex to cheat on a final. Kids need to know how to live an authentic life with integrity. To be a true friend, don’t let your friends drive drunk or make that late night booty call, pay their taxes, etc. You know, be an upstanding human being.
4. Personal Finances: When I was a college freshman, I got lured into accepting all those credit card offers I kept getting in the mail. By my junior year, I was drowning in debt. Add that to my student loans, and I was a huge credit risk and I hadn’t even left college. I wish my mom had taught me how to budget my money and live within my means. I should have eaten raman noodles instead of ordering pizza every night.
5. Be Positive: I grew up in a negative home. It took me years to realize how much of an impact that had on my life. Being around my family was like an albatross around my neck. I try to live every day with gratitude, a positive attitude and always to build others up. I am thankful I broke that chain with my own kids, and I have three beautiful children, both inside and out.
6. Be present: My family and I went out to dinner recently. We all had our cell phones out while we waited for out food to come. I realized we were ignoring the reason we went out, which was to be together as a family and hang out. I made everyone put away those phones and actually converse with each other. It is so easy to let special moments pass us by, which we cannot get back. So put away the cell phones and be present. Feel the sun on your face, listen to the birds sing, and enjoy family game night (even if you think its dorky!)
7.Be Forgiving: Due to a lot of family issues, I spent a lot of time in therapy. I struggled with how my parents treated me and how resentful I was towards them. My therapist told me nothing in life is as heavy as resentment. She taught me to forgive and not expect acknowledgement or an apology in return. There is a lot of freedom in that act and I hope to pass that on to my children.
8. Be Respectful: One would think this is a given. We teach our kids from an early age to respect their elders. But do we teach them to be respectful of other human beings? What about their peers, siblings or even the cashier at the Walmart? I have taught my kids to always say thank you to EVERYONE, to never correct someone’s grammar, to never interrupt, to be on time, and to return things as they were given in the first place. It is crazy how many little areas in life where respect is not given when it should.
9. Choose Your Battles Wisely: My life as a child was like living in a war zone. My mom and dad fought over EVERYTHING! It was exhausting. As a parent, I strive to let the little shit go and only go to battle when it is warranted. In the end, no one cares who forgot to lock the door but they will care that their honor was defended and protected.
10. Keep A Little Mystery: I have a problem with over-sharing. I will tell a complete stranger my life history if they give me the change. My daughter does the same thing. As I get older, I realize people don’t want to carry all that information with them. So, to my daughter; tell them enough to keep them interested but not so much they avoid you when they see you again.
I was recently sent a copy of Becky Blades book, “Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mother Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening.” I LOVED this book! Becky offers pieces of advice to her college bound girls that I want my daughter to know. Teenagers don’t always hear what we say; it goes in one ear then out the other. As a parent, Becky knew this all too well. So, instead of continually sharing these pearls of wisdom, Becky collected 270 short snippets of advice. She turned them into a book full of wisdom, warmth and a bit of humorous motherly smart-ass advice. “Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mother Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening” is the perfect companion for any parent of a high school senior.
From my own experience, my daughter LOVED this book! There was a lot of advice in the book I had shared with her. There was also a lot I had not. I think Caitlin is much more equipped for college life after reading the book then she was before! Thanks Becky! Becky Blades is a writer, artist, business strategist, and philosopher of creative, adventurous living. She lives in Kansas City with her husband of thirty years and her Maytag front-load washing machine. You can purchase the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $14.99. Stay social and follow Laundry or Die on Twitter and like them on Facebook. TWO USA readers will win a copy of Becky’s Book.
Do you have any advice to offer to a college bound student? I would love to hear it!