“Back To School” is coming at us fast, and, even if it has been many years since you yourself have been a student, if one of your offspring is heading off into the world of University or College in September, you may find yourself overwhelmed with preparations right now. Depending on the living arrangements the student will be facing compared to how their life has been at home, there may be a few skills they need to acquire before college move in day.
Meals & Groceries
Learn the basics. No need to become a culinary genius in the last few weeks before school starts, but at the very least, make sure the kid is being sent off equipped to fry an egg and cook some pasta. Make sure they know how to use the stove (sounds silly, but if you have always had a gas stove at home and move into a house with one that is electric, you need to learn how it works).
Safe food handling and storage is important. Mom and dad aren’t going to be there to warn them not to eat that deli ham they bought 2 weeks ago, and it’s not a lesson you want them to learn the hard way.
Find out if a local grocery store offers specials for students. Make sure to not buy more than space will allow, or be eaten within a reasonable amount of time. Even if your kids are used to tagging along with you on trips to the grocery store (as mine often do), the quantities they see you buy for a family are going to be a lot different than what they are going to need.
Send them armed with a general purpose cleaner for both bathrooms and kitchens, along with a small supply of paper towels, and make sure they understand the importance of keeping the space clean. Residences are quite small shared spaces and nobody should have to put up with someone else’s spills and leftover grime. In a residence, they can also face “extra cleaning” fees when they move out if certain standards have not been met. In our case, this lesson was learned the hard way.
Unless visits home are going to be accompanied by a bag of dirty laundry, they’re going to need to know how to take care of it themselves. Residences and most student rental homes have coin operated laundry facilities. Again, if the machines are different from home, make sure they learn how to use them. Our family has a front loading washer and the house my son is staying in this year has a top loader, so the solution for us is a trip to the local laundromat for a quick lesson on a top loader.
Places like Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond are excellent sources of organizational items. Find out what is and is not allowed by the school in their residences before you start spending money on things you won’t be able to use. Make the most of over the door hanging storage as well as under the bed roll out pieces.
With a little bit of research, organization and preparation before college move in day your post secondary student will be off to a good start for a successful year.