Worrying that your newly independent child is about to set their kitchen on fire or spend all their loan in the first week? To save you some sleepless nights, we’ve put together some top life lessons to pass on to your kids before they fly the nest.
1. How to do their own washing
The tactic ‘chuck everything into the washing machine until there’s not even space for oxygen in there’ is often too tempting to resist for washing novices. As you know, their clothes will end up dry and unwashed in the middle of the machine and their new brightly coloured Students’ Union hoody will have probably run all over their whites. Buy them some colour catchers, simple detergent capsules so they don’t need to measure anything, and for the love of everything holy – don’t buy them white towels.
2. How to cook basic meals
Gordon Ramsay your darling kids are not. This is fine when they’re at home with chef mum and dad. But what happens when they’re let loose in a uni kitchen? Hopefully not fire. But haute cuisine is another close improbability. Teach them a few basic meals like a tasty pasta sauce, trusty Bolognese, inventive jacket potato toppings, and maybe even a simple cake or bake that they can impress their new flatmates with!
3. How to put a duvet cover on
Too many students end up sleeping under an uncovered duvet for months just to avoid the horror show that is trying to get their duvet cover on. Rather than crawling inside and desperately pulling for hours to get the cover on, try teaching them the best method: turn the cover inside out, grab the corners of the cover from inside, the duvet corners too, and just shake until all they need to do is button up at the bottom. Make sure they have a couple of sets of covers and sheets just in case they cleverly put their bedding in the wash at 9pm – less than ideal if they only have one set….
University packing guide
Read up on the essentials for the big move.
4. How to budget
Gone are the days when your kids have to make their £2.50 pocket money last the week. Can they be trusted with a student loan?! It’s a good idea to go through an initial weekly budget with your soon-to-be student kids. This helps them understand how many Pot Noodles they can afford whilst also leaving you a bit more assured that you won’t get a panicked phone call at the end of the second week because they’ve already managed to spend all of their loan on Waitrose’s finest…
5. How to clean
Whether they have cleaners in their halls or not, it’s important they understand the difference between bleach, kitchen surface spray, washing up liquid, bathroom cleaner, and toilet cleaner. It’s not the best idea to wash chopping boards and cutlery in bleach. It’s a less than tasty meal supplement.
6. How to avoid identity theft
Everyone loves a good folder! Make sure you get one for your child so they can keep all their official documentation from the uni, UCAS, doctor, bank, and Student Finance. Keeping everything filed away safely will ensure they don’t lose anything important, but also make it less likely their identity will be stolen if someone breaks into their room with an easy target in mind.
7. How to spend their money wisely
There are certain things you should avoid scrimping on, even if you’re a student. Strong black bin bags are a worthy investment to avoid messy spillages, the very cheapest bread is not always the best (you can taste the difference!), and most importantly, wine sold in a box is never usually a good idea.
Once you’ve shared all of these essential life lessons, your kids will soon be the envy of all their new flatmates as they enjoy their meals and expertly wash their clothes. Soon, they’ll be passing on this knowledge to their friends! Mission accomplished.
Read our list of what to take to university to ensure they’ve packed everything they need before the big day!