In the rush to prepare their children for the academic side of college, many parents often overlook imparting other skills that are important to their child’s academic success and quality of life. Knowing how to grocery shop or how to do laundry is an important support skill that can contribute to a positive college experience. By involving your student in household activities while they are still at home in high school, you are helping equip them with knowledge and resources that can help them succeed in school and in life.
Many students who go off to college choose to buy and prepare their own food, rather than purchase a campus meal plan. This certainly has its health benefits- no missing breakfast because they slept in or worrying about what the contents of Monday’s meatloaf- but these benefits can be limited if a student only loads up on snacks and junk food. Poor eating habits have been proven to have an effect on academic performance, so be sure your student has a good understanding of the basics of a healthy diet and lifestyle- check out the USDA’s MyPlate system at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
Knowing what to eat is the first step; how to eat well on the cheap is an acquired skill. Students should know how to compare unit prices on items. Often, the plain-wrapped discount or store brand item is several cents cheaper than their brand-name counterparts, so why pay for packaging? Be sure your student know how smell, look and feel for ripeness and freshness in fruits and vegetables. Knowing how to purchase quality meats for low prices is easy- students should look for sales, buy in bulk and freeze into individual portions. Actively include your student in your grocery shopping trips now, and you’ll be helping increase their chance of surviving their first year at college without the dreaded ‘Freshman 15’.
Laundry: The Silent Killer
You would be surprised how many students head off to college without knowing how to do laundry. It may seem simple to you, but those knobs, dials and buttons on the washer can be foreign to those who haven’t used it before. Unless you are okay with your student lugging home giant, stinking piles of laundry for your attention at each holiday, teaching them how to work a washer and dryer is a simple and easy way that can improve their quality of life and save your relationship.
Making a Home out of a House
Having a safe, comfortable place to hang your hat at the end of the day can be a big boost to your student’s mental health. Whether it acts as a quiet place to study, or simply helps to get a good night’s sleep, make sure your student knows how to turn a house into a home is important. When packing all those books and notes for college, make sure some family photos or a favourite blanket get tucked away, too.