Seven Essential Skills Your Kids Should Have Before They Leave for College

Some kids showing essential skills for college students

Going off to college is always a rollercoaster of emotions for children and parents alike. While independent living can help your children learn more about the nitty-gritty of real life, it’s not always a smooth-sailing journey, especially if they’re unprepared. Living alone without the skills to survive in a new environment is frightening, and every parent should do their best to prepare their kids for it. Here are seven essential skills for college students.

(Should you consider getting an advanced degree? Project Bold Life has the answer.)

Life Skills and Why Your Children Need Them

Life skills are like the building blocks or frameworks that help children apply what they learned from school to real-world problems and scenarios. It means being able to think abstractly and handle complications from different views to find practical solutions and communicate them clearly and effectively to others.

In addition, life skills give children essential tools for development, like independent thinking, decision-making, and socialization. It also helps them take action and create resolutions when neither parents nor teachers are available to help or intervene. Unlike motor skills, life skills, like problem-solving and critical thinking, are learned and not innate.

Several studies show the significance of children learning life skills helps motivate them and change their thought and behavior about changes. Building these skills allows them to exercise sound judgment and practice good habits for long-term wellness and success.

“Imparting life skills education to the students can be helpful as it specifically addresses the needs of children, helps in motivating, providing practical, cognitive, emotional, social, and self-management skills for life adjustments.” – Dr. Ravindra Prajapati, Course Coordinator, PACIFIC TAFE- CVET, The University of the South Pacific

1.  Financial Literacy and Management

Teaching your children about money could be critical in making or breaking their success in adulthood. At a young age, kids should learn the value of money and how to become financially savvy. It means understanding how to manage money, spending it, and saving. In addition, financial literacy can also focus on how to delay gratification, manage a bank account, invest, and responsible ways of handling debt.

The best way of introducing money management is through teaching kids how to spend responsibly. Shopping is easy, but wisely spending money is a skill must-have. Stopping the urge of buying because you can, saving towards a goal, and knowing what a reasonable price is for every item is essential to instill in a child.

2. Cooking Skills

In a 2018 study, researchers stated that adolescents with cooking skills can help improve their health and nutrition. Teaching your children how to cook can help lead them to a healthier and fitter future. College life is stressful and fast, especially in the first year. Due to this, many teenagers without adequate cooking experience go for fast food or microwavable meals.

Spending on convenient meals from the store is costlier and unhealthy. But if a child knows the value of preparing and cooking home-cooked meals, they become more invested in their health. In addition, it can inspire creativity and develop their financial management skills.

“Opportunities to develop cooking skills by adolescents may result in long-term benefits for nutritional well-being,” – Jennifer Utter, Ph.D., MPH, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

3. Time Management

One of the things many teenagers and young adults struggle with is managing their time. Many people focus on specific tasks longer, which affects how much time they can deal with other things. Teaching your kids young on how to manage their time can help them learn and maintain work-life balance in the future.

Time management skills are essential in today’s world. Get your children to work on the schedule they have by assisting them in making their timetables per day, especially on days when it’s more hectic than usual.

Allowing them to create their timetables and explain the significance of the study and fun balance can also lower accumulated stress and prevent mental health issues.

These are essential skills for college students
Load your kids up with these essential skills for college students and watch them thrive.

4. Decision-Making Skills

College is a chapter full of self-discovery and fresh encounters. Due to that, teenagers can think and act impulsively because of their peers and new environment. Your children need to learn about decision-making before leaving for college to ensure their safety and best interests.

Every child should start learning how to make good decisions at a young age. Parents can start teaching them by adding their thoughts on basic choices like their lunch meals, the clothes they want to wear, and the activities they want to do. Help them weigh their options and evaluate them. You can also incorporate a rewards system to show the difference between good and bad decisions.

5. Basic Maintenance Work

Basic maintenance work is one of the most essential life skills children need to learn. Not all college students have the funds or connections to hire maintenance workers whenever something happens inside their dorm or apartment. Your children need to know and understand how to accomplish small tasks like changing flat tires, fixing leaky pipes, and unclogging sinks, drains, and toilets.

In addition to learning maintenance work, they also develop their money-spending skills. Other examples of maintenance tasks they need to learn before college are doing laundry, folding and ironing clothes, and assembling furniture.

6. Maintaining Proper Health and Hygiene

Parents always remind their kids about baths, brushing teeth, washing hands, and changing underwear. But not everyone tells their children why they need to do these things. Explaining to your kids why health and hygiene are crucial parts of their routine will help them understand the significance of these activities. Soon, it becomes a part of their daily tasks.

7. Coping with Failure

Parents often correct their kids to keep them from harm and prevent them from doing those acts again. But sometimes, this leads to children fearing failure and being unable to deal with them when things go awry. Life is full of surprises, and there are cases where they’re out of your hands.

Children need to learn that failure is a teacher and not a handicap. Instead of kids blaming themselves for things not going how they want, parents should teach them to look at their problems differently to solve them.

Seven Bold Life Skills for College Success

Going to college is an adventure, and your child needs to have every essential skill to succeed and enjoy their time. These seven skills for college success will help your kids adjust to the real world. While parents are still there to support and care for them, learning these things will keep them ahead and ready for every new experience.


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About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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