Going to uni can be difficult for teenagers. Make it easier for them by teaching them everything, from boiling an egg to washing clothes to managing their money…
INSURE THEIR STUFF
You’ve had home and contents insurance for years, but it’s probably not something your kids will have taken notice of. Remind them to get themselves covered and explain the importance of protecting their possesions. Student halls and houses aren’t immune to flooding and fires, and those without insurance could lose everything should the worst happen. Endsleigh is reccomended by most universities as they’re tailored specifically for students. Check out their gadget bundles, and they have options to add on extras such as instruments and sports equipment.
They might help out around the house, but would you trust your teenager with your washing? Student halls will have a laundrette and there will be washing machines in shared houses, but a lot of students start university without the knowledge of how to do their washing properly. To avoid them sleeping in the same bedding all year or having more clothes in the wash basket than in the wardrobe, teach them a few simple lessons:
Tip: Pack them an airer for hanging wet clothes to dry
SET UP A STUDENT BANK ACCOUNT
It’s important for students to set up a student account, rather than continue with their regular current account. Fees are much lower, the banks are generally kinder and there are often freebies involved.
Remember, it’s okay for a student to use their overdraft facility, as long as they use it wisely. Student accounts are the only type of account to offer fee free and interest free overdrafts, so students won’t pay back more than they borrowed. This facility usually lasts for a few years after graduation to give them time to pay it back, before regular fees and interest rates start to apply again.
Some of the best deals this year:
Santander – free 4-year railcard to save money on train fares
HSBC – £60 Amazon voucher, up to £3,000 overdraft limit and they won’t allow you to go over your set limit (no scary fees)
Natwest – free 4-year National Express coachcard
STUDENT EATING HABITS
Your teenager could be a fantastic cook, in which case, you have little to worry about when it comes to them eating at university. However, some students have trouble boiling an egg. Make sure that they know all the basics before they head off – baking potatoes, easy pasta sauces, quick and simple meals, freezing and defrosting food and cooking on a budget.
Take them on their first food shop. This is easiest on the day you help them move in because they’ll start getting to know their local supermarket. You might want to spoil them but try to avoid doing so – teach them clever budgeting tricks.
Check out Asda’s Student Shopper Cards. You keep one and your son/daughter keeps the other. When you top it up the balance transfers to the student card for them to spend in-store. You’ll know how much is being spent and won’t worry that they’re going without food.
STUDENT LOAN TALK
Hopefully your son/daughter has been through the entire process of applying for student loans and are awaiting their first payment. Many quickly forget that this amount needs to last them until the new year. If your child is receiving the full amount available, it will need to cover their rent and food for around four months, so teach them to put aside enough to keep a roof over their head and food in the kitchen so that they can see how much they have leftover for spending.
If you’re supporting your child financially, transfer money regularly and of a certain amount. Remember, they’re studying most days, probably won’t eat like a king and student bars often charge only around £2 a drink. Teach them to budget by only sending them the money they need.
It may be tempting to step in when problems arise, but these money lessons will stay with them for life.
LEAVING THEM TO IT
It would be very tempting to invite your child home everytime they call and sound a bit panicked, but they need to settle. Heading home every weekend will only mean that they miss out on important bonding time with new friends. If they really are floundering, a visit home wouldn’t be a problem, but remind them that you’re only ever a phonecall away and sometimes that can relax a homesick student just as much.
On the other hand, don’t be surprised if you rarely get a call in those first weeks. The most outgoing students will dive into university life with ease and will be busy exploring their new home.
When you say goodbye after moving them in, try not to show it if you’re upset. Your teenager might be doing a good job of holding it together but could crumble at the sight of their mum in tears. Others could be quite happily ushering you out of the door, keen to get comfortable and meet their flat/housemates.