It is some parents’ nightmare for their child to take the next steps in their education and start looking to flee the nest, and for others, they couldn’t be more excited! Either way, it is a significant change in everyone’s life and can take some preparation from everyone involved.
Understandably, you might have a kid that is nervous about what is around the corner, and they might benefit from a helping hand from their dad to get them ready for the next chapter. This piece is for you if you are a dad, parent, or primary giver. Look at these top tips on how you can help prepare them for higher education so they can get off to a flying start.
1. Encourage Trying Their Best
First of all, it is important to note that every child’s ‘best’ will look different, and every kid has talents, skills, and areas they might not excel at. This means when you are encouraging your child to try their best, it is important that you take away any prejudice or expectations on what this looks like and listen to them. Explore their strengths, what they are interested in, and what areas they might want to go into when looking at higher education – and go from there.
2. Help Them Set SMART Academic Goals
SMART (An acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) is a very useful technique that anyone can use to achieve their goals, so it makes a great option for students too. It is designed to make sure you don’t become overwhelmed, set unrealistic expectations, and allow you to see that you are going in the right direction when working towards your goals.
You and your offspring should consider a couple of factors when creating goals, such as which areas need improving, how to prepare for specific exams, and what grades need to be achieved.
It can also be worth taking a look at CampusReel, which can point you in the direction of what grades you need to get into your chosen universities.
3. Encourage Extra Curricular Activities
College should be a well-rounded experience filled with new experiences. It is also important that your kid gets an education from the ‘school of life’ too, as well as a focus on their academic escalations. Allowing them to choose hobbies they are interested in, such as music, art, or sport will help them decompress, relax, and have fun while enjoying a variety of skill development that will enhance their learning experience and give them tools for life.
4. Look at College Options Ahead of Time
Don’t leave looking at colleges until the last minute if your kid knows that they want to go – even if they aren’t sure, it is best to have an idea in case they change their mind. Take a road trip to different campuses for tours with your kid; it will create memories for you both as well as help them to narrow down their choices.
If they know what colleges they are interested in and you are able to, try and take a trip up to visit each one of interest and get a feel for the place. Many will do official open days, which means you are likely to get to speak to the professors, lecturers, and other students to get a better idea of what is on offer.
5. Foster Independence and Responsibility
For many, college is the first time a teenager is moving out on their own into the big wide world, and it is up to both of you to make sure they know the basics. Showing them how to cook something without burning down the kitchen, giving a lesson in what household cleaners are not to mix, and creating some money budget plans before they leave could do your kid, yourself, and the world a favor.
Setting limits for your kid and presenting them with choices early on can help them foster trust in themselves and their choices. The limits set should help them gain responsibility and consideration for any consequences of their actions.
While the practical stuff is essential, you must also be there to lend an ear. Be there to answer any questions they may have, and remain judgment free so they have a safe space. They might need that very space if something happens while they are away, and they need help or someone they can trust.
6. Help Build Up Strong Communication Skills
With your teenager away from home, there is a good chance they will be faced with some situations where they need to stick up for themselves or use their voice. Making sure they have these communication skills and confidence can be a big boost to their self-esteem, and also bring you a little bit of peace of mind too.
7. Encourage Critical Thinking
If you are a parent that often says, “Because I said so”, or “Do as I say and not as I do”, you may have had to deal with a rebellious teenager. Critical thinking is essential for positive change in the world, and giving your kid a supportive environment. At the same time, they question everything will make a world of difference to how they approach their first steps into ‘real life’ on their own terms.
Not only will this help your kid manage to be out in the world, but it is also an essential skill for studying and the working world too. To think critically is a skill that will always be valuable, so always make room to encourage it, even if it is particularly difficult at times!
Being a parent is not always going to be easy, and when your teen is ready to take their next big step in life, it can be difficult for everyone involved. The world might look a little different from when you were at school, but the principles are still the same! All you can do is be there for your kid and try your best when supporting them.