Ten Things All Parents Need to Know Before Their Child Leaves For University



Lucky enough to have a teenager heading off to uni for the first time this month?

Welcome to exciting times ahead, while negotiating a shopping list the size of a textbook, some scary credit card bills and the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies delivering a son, or daughter to university.

Having packed twin daughters, Olivia and Sophia off last September, the realisation that there was a lot to learn from the experience made it so much easier to be wise after the event. Here are the top ten lessons learnt after moving in day:

  1. Check what’s actually provided in the accommodation and don’t double up on anything that’s not essential.
  2. Buy inexpensive kitchen kit if they’re going to be living in halls; chances are it’s going to get used, abused or mislaid. Over the past year, Olivia and Sophia have managed to lose: kitchen scissors, towels, cutlery, mugs, glasses, wooden spoons, saucepan lids and even a frying pan!
  3. Uni towns have shops too. If they’ve forgotten something, they can always go shopping.
  4. Think carefully about the amount of stuff they’ll actually need. Chances are their room will be smaller than the one they have at home and storage space will be limited.
  5. Unless they’re going a long way from home and not planning on coming back before the end of term, suggest they pack a small selection of clothes that are suitable for warm, cool, or wet weather. And only take clothing that’s easy to wash (and dry).
  6. If kitchen storage is limited and they’re struggling to store essential supplies, invest in an inexpensive drawer storage unit and cram everything in there instead.
  7. Go food shopping after arriving at university on moving in day, but write a shopping list first as it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
  8. Don’t forget important documentation, such as: driving license, confirmation of offer from UCAS, exam certificates, NHS number, Student Finance confirmation, bank details and accommodation contract.
  9. After moving in: help them to unpack a little, but don’t stay too long. Those first few hours in the company of fellow housemates are essential for making new friends and a vital part of settling in. It’s tough, but leaving them to it means that they’re more likely to feel at home right from the start.
  10. After spending the last 18 years reminding your child to take a coat, eat breakfast, arrive on time and everything else besides, all of this is now entirely up to them. Chances are they’ll make a few mistakes along the way, but isn’t that what growing up is all about?

Here’s hoping this will be so much easier second time around….


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