Adulting

Helping Your Child Get Organised for Life in College

When your child has accepted their place at college, your next step will be organisation. It takes a lot of preparation to get someone ready for life at college and the sooner you can start, the better. Here are some of the things you should think about if you need to help your child get organised for their college experience.

Insurance

College can be rough without the proper protection. Your child’s laptop is likely to be their lifeline. They will use it to communicate with you and complete all their coursework. They could turn their back on it for a moment in the library only to have someone swipe it.

An easy way to protect it is to take out a student renters insurance policy. This is great as it won’t just protect their electronics when they are out and about but it will also protect their items in their dorm or student apartment. From pranks gone wrong to someone simply attempting theft, anything can go wrong. A student renters insurance policy will help keep there things right.

Storage

A dorm room has limited space. There are some storage facilities that every student has but you need to make sure that your child is making the most of their space. No matter where they end up at college, they are likely to go through several seasons and that requires clothes. On top of this, you need to account for books and other personal effects.

Under-the-bed storage will be key here. From any store, you should be able to find plastic boxes with lids and wheels. The lids will keep the contents dust-free while the wheels will allow the boxes to be pulled in and out easily. These are a great way for your child to maximise their storage despite any limitations on the space they have in their dorm. Don’t forget about separators or hanging shelves to go inside any built-in storage. If possible, try to scope out the dorm room before you buy things. This should make it easier to find items that work well with the room instead of buying superfluous items.

Cooking

If your child can’t cook, teach them how to make some simple dishes before they leave home. Even if they are headed to a dorm with a canteen, teaching them how to cook will help them get ahead. They can make friends and impress acquaintances with a whole range of different dishes.

None of the dishes have to be that complicated. A roast chicken recipe, a dessert like brownies, and a one-pot wonder like chilli might be the perfect collection for them to be able to impress anyone they like. Make sure they have the utensils they need and have them practice each dish a few times to ensure everything is perfect.

Budgeting

College is likely to be one of the first times your child will have to manage their own money. You need to make sure that they are going to know how to handle their money without running out each month. Whether they are making a go of it by themselves or juggling a job alongside their studies, they need to know how to make their money last.

Why not get them to help out with some simple exercises like the weekly shop? This will be a great way for you to teach them some life-long budgeting skills. Give them a set amount to spend and ask them to buy enough food for a set number of meals. It will help them plan their week’s money once they are at college. You could also tie this in with the cooking by having them fully budget, plan, and make a few meals that week. Not only will you get to assess their skills, but you or your partner can take a break from meal planning yourselves.

Letting your child go to college can be a big step for both of you. As a parent, you need to prepare them for adult living as best as you can. Whether you are teaching them about budgets or finding them the perfect storage for their room, you will soon make sure that they are perfectly ready for college.

 

Adulting

Homesickness Help For The Kids Out On Their Own

As the parent of a university student, you may have done everything you could to ensure they are well equipped to live independently and to use that independence wisely. However, that doesn’t always mean they’re going to have an easy time doing it on their own. Most of us experience homesickness occasionally when we’re out on our own for the first time. For many, the experience can really be crippling. If your kid is having a tough time out on their own, here are a few ways you can help them cope better.

Pic – Pixabay License

Make sure they leave with realistic expectations about what university is going to be

As a parent, part of our responsibility is to make sure that our kids are prepared for a prosperous future and part of that means helping them get a more informed idea of what’s going to be waiting for them when they leave home. Social media, TV, and film may have given them ideas that university is a constant party but they’re soon going to be disabused of that notion. If they were particularly looking fun to that part of uni, that twist can actually be quite shocking and disappointing. As such, it’s important to help them understand that managing a household, studying, and going to class is what they’re going to be spending the majority of their time on, and that partying isn’t quite as frequent as they might believe.

Encourage them to throw themselves into their new experience

The trepidation that your kids might feel out on their own for the first time is real and worrying, but it is also something that they can get over best with experience. Simply, if they can find the strength to go out, try new things, join new clubs, and make new friends with the help of networks like Meetup. Simply put, until they find their rhythm in their new environment and find what they like about it, most of their time is going to be spent comparing it negatively to home. When it comes to getting over feelings of homesickness, we need to get out of our own way, occasionally.

Tell them to make their own home-life schedule

One of the best ways to keep homesickness off your mind is to be busy. They can do this, in part, by enjoying the uni life as best as possible, joining clubs, going to events, and making friends. But simply getting used to a new schedule can help them move on with their life as well. Helping them put a daily routine together, including their housework, self-care, shopping, studying, and so on can help them find their own rhythm away from home. It also makes sure they don’t have too much time to let boredom settle in, which is one of the biggest catalysts of homesickness.

Pic – Pixabay License

Help them stay in touch with the folks back home

Reaching out and sending messages via Skype, WhatsApp, Discord and the like is one thing. But it can really help warm their heart and centre your kids to hear a familiar voice once in a while. Some kids fresh out at uni may worry about the costs of calling home in their new budget, but deals like the Smarty student campaign can make it as affordable as possible for them. You have to give them some space to acclimate to their new environment, but calling once in a while and letting them know they can call you whenever they want can help them feel extra supported out there. Just try not to do it too much or you could end up getting in the way of them acclimating.

Put down social media

It’s not just home that your kid will be missing, it’s all of the friends and connections they have made over the year that they are now far removed from. That’s an emotionally tough thing for many to deal with, and people make it much worse for themselves with social media. By browsing social media all day, they’re likely to keep scrolling through photos and posts from friends they miss, twisting the knife all the deeper. Encourage your kid to set a rule for themselves that they only browse social media for 30-45 minutes a day during a set time of the day. If they can discipline the habit of thumbing through Facebook out of their life, then they’re going to torture themselves a lot less often. Apps like In Moment can offer some valuable help in doing that, too.

Send them some home comforts

Want to really warm their cockles and help them feel like they are cared for? Then put together a care package of things from home. This is especially valuable if they’re studying overseas, as their local stores aren’t likely to carry their favourite biscuits or even a decent pack of teabags. There are plenty of guides for putting together a university care package that can give you plenty of inspiration. Just make sure your intention in supporting them is clear, not that you’re trying to make them miss home even more.

Pic – Pixabay License

Encourage them to look for help

You can offer them advice and a kind word where possible, but if you feel like they’re having a really hard time, then it’s important to help your kid be aware that there may people there who can better help them. For instance, it’s very likely that their university will have counselling services on hand. A lot of young people struggle with bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety when they’re away from home. Let them know that they’re not the only person who has gone through this, without diminishing their experience, that they can get through it, and that there are people and services who can help them get through it.

With the tips above, you can help your grown kids fight homesickness. However, it’s important to listen to their complaints, as well. If they have actual problems it may be that homesickness isn’t really the concern.

All About ME!

A Little Bit of Self Improvement

A Little Bit of Self ImprovementI don’t know about you, but September for me always feels like a time for new beginnings. I think it’s the start of the new school year that does it, but I always feel like I should be embarking on a new project or job at this time of year. With both girls now in full time education, I have time to do something just for me, so I thought I’d share a few self-improvement things that I’m thinking of embarking on in the coming weeks:

NLP Training

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. ‘Neuro’ being your brain, ‘Linguistic’ the language we use with others and how that can influence their thinking and behaviour and our own self talk and how that impacts on our results. A good accredited NLP Training programme can help you to become more successful in many areas of your life.

Exercise

One of the single most important things that I need to do after the holidays is get back to the gym. As well as needing to lose a lot of weight and improve my physical health, exercising always seems to have a positive effect on my mental health, too, giving me an overall more positive outlook. This usually helps me to be more productive in other areas.

Learning

I really want to resume my OU studies and complete an Early Years Education degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a kid, and having spent more time in class with BB this year, I realise I’m never happier than when I’m in a school environment. I really want a job where I feel like I’m contributing to society.

Volunteering

Something that I’ve always enjoyed doing is volunteering my time to a good cause. Giving money to charities is essential, but giving time can sometimes be even more valuable. When I was younger, I spent my Saturdays volunteering in a Child Contact Centre, where parents with a court order in place could have visitation with their kids and although it was sometimes upsetting, it was also incredibly rewarding.

Find a Hobby

If I have any time left after all of my other attempts at self improvement, I’d really like to find a hobby. I spend SO much of my free time either surfing social media and the internet or watching TV and I think it might be making my brain turn to mush! I need to find something to do which actually helps me to engage my brain, or at the very least helps me to do something creative.

Garden · Giveaway

Help Your Schools to Get Out and Grow!

Here at Mum’s the Word, we’ve been long-time supporters of the Get Out and Grow campaign, pioneered by Sudocrem, in association with Greenfingers charity and Cliffton Nurseries, with the goal of getting children out of the house and into the garden. They sent us some facts which are, quite frankly, a little bit sad..

Despite the fact that 87% of British households have a garden, over half of British children between 4 and 8 are unable to name 5 vegetables or fruits grown in them and 95% were unable to name 3 herbs. Many of those couldn’t identify gardening tools, with only 8% able to identify a trowel, 80% never having seen a rake before and, worrying, 79% believing worms are bad for plants. 

73% of those asked said they had never grown a sunflower, while only 8% had ever picked an apple, which perhaps explains why they’re unable to name even one. Less than 10% had dug up a vegetable and only 6% had ever eaten a fresh pea from the pod. Based on this evidence, it is perhaps unsurprising that only 20% have ever eaten a vegetable they’ve grown themselves.

Sudocrem is now expanding the initiative to include schools, based on the figures that 90% of children said that they would like a garden at school and at one primary school in Lincolnshire, a school garden made all the difference when it came to pupil’s behaviour.

The Benjamin Adlard Primary School, run by headmaster Sam Coy, was previously rated by Ofsted as one of Britain’s worst schools. Four years and one school garden later, and the Gainsborough school has won the national Pearson award for School of the Year: Making a Difference.

Headmaster Coy insists: “The children absolutely love den-building, just generally getting dirty and nature hunts. One child recently told me that he loves going to the forest school on a Tuesday afternoon so much as it helps him to behave all week as he never wants to not be able to go.”

We’re absolutely delighted that Sudocrem is offering people the chance to nominate schools which they think could benefit from their very own gardening kits, and they’ve asked Mum’s the Word to be an ambassador for the project.

All you need to do is comment below the name of the school you wish to nominate and why you think they deserve one of the kits, comprising of gloves, spades, wheelbarrow and much more to get the school’s garden into full bloom. The kits are worth £160, but having the tools to get outside could be worth SO much more to the kids of the school you nominate.

Leave your comment by Sunday 9th of June and we could have the kit sent to the winning school before the summer holiday begin.

(Winner will be chosen by me, prizes will be provided by Satellite PR and sent straight to the winning school, no monetary alternative will be offered, all decisions are final)
Education · Parenting

College Homework: 8 Essential Study Habits for Parents

If you are a parent and attending college, you are likely to have problems organizing your time. It becomes even more difficult when you are working at the same time. The thought of juggling between work, studies, and parenting is overwhelming in itself. Therefore, you have to find the right tricks that will help to survive under such conditions. Here are some tips for you to get your college homework done.

IMAGE: Parents Attend College Too

  1. Create time for everything

Although it may seem like there is not enough time to perform all your duties, you will be surprised to find out that you can create it. Proper planning ensures that everything is done at the right time. When you do this, you will even have time to spend with your children and family.

  1. Invest in the right study apps

The use of applications in education is one of the best things that ever happened to students. As a parent who still has to work and study, you need applications that will help you to organize your functions. They should also make it easy for you to access your notes and communicate with your tutors.

  1. Look for online courses

Since you will be spending most of your time at home taking care of the children, an online course could come in handy. You will notice that it allows you more flexibility compared to traditional classrooms. You can feed the kids, put them to bed, and proceed to take a few lessons.

  1. Technology will be your savior

In this age, you cannot overlook the importance of technology when it comes to education, especially when you are a parent and a student at the same time. Find the latest trends in technology and see how they can help to ease the pressure on your shoulders.

  1. Invest in high-quality educational gadgets

What are some of the gadgets that you use for your college education? If you want to enjoy the best experiences, you have to invest in high quality calculators, laptops, document readers, printers, and all the tools that you may need,

  1. Find online forums for parents in similar situations

There are many parents who are juggling between many tasks the same way you do. Find them through online forums and find out how they cope with it.

  1. Rest is important too

It is good to focus on your studies and give them your all so that you may succeed. However, do not deprive yourself of rest because a lack of it will only lead to unfortunate situations.

  1. Find someone to help with your homework and essays

Since you have too many other things to do besides education, you may want to find experts to help you with your assignments and essays. You can find such experts online, and they will save you a lot of time and energy.

In a nutshell, the fact that you are a parent should not make you abandon your dream of getting a college education. By suing some of these tips and getting help , there is no doubt that you will complete the course.