10 Things You Must Teach Your Teen Before College

Your teenager is stepping into adulthood.

College can be a buffer period, and you should teach them as much as you can before they leave for school.

Don’t forget these ten essential pieces of life knowledge when preparing them for their future.

1. How to Build a Budget

Your college student won’t rely on you for money forever.

They must learn how to manage their own finances while they still have a safety net on campus. Once your student has an income, whether it’s an allowance from you or from a job, they should learn how to follow a budget.

One of the easiest budgets you can teach your child is the 50/30/20 rule. About 50% of a person’s income should go to needs, like rent or groceries, with 30% going towards wants and 20% into savings.

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2. How to Hunt for Deals

Despite budgeting, your kid might encounter a time when they’re short on money. While you’re likely to help them if you have the chance, they also need to know how to spend wisely.

Encourage them to take advantage of free opportunities in their new community. Are there any places that offer discounts to students? Encourage them to hunt down these deals — it’ll help them save money in the long run.

3. How to Cook a Meal

You don’t just want your child to eat well when they come home from school. You want to ensure they sustain themselves with proper nutrition when they’re away, too. Eating home-cooked meals means saving money and consuming higher-quality food that will nourish you. Teach your child the basics of a good meal and how to grocery shop for foods that will sustain them throughout the day.

4. How to Keep Track of Personal Info

Your child will be obtaining more important documents over the years. They should know where to store things like their birth certificate and social security card. Eventually, they’ll need a fireproof and waterproof box that can help them keep these documents safe. You should also encourage them to memorize some of their personal info, like their social security number. It’s safer than carrying their card around.

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5. How to Do Laundry

Don’t encourage your child to wait until they come home to do their laundry. Odds are, they might be hours away from you and need to learn how to keep their clothes clean. Campus laundry might cost some money, but it’s worth it to teach your student a skill that will last them a lifetime, even after they have a place of their own.

You should also teach them to separate their clothes out, as well as how certain symbols indicate what settings or which bleach to use throughout the laundry process. 

6. How to Change a Tire

If someone else in your household typically takes care of car maintenance for your student, they should pass on some of their knowledge. Knowing what certain dashboard lights mean and when to take a car in for service can help a college student understand when it’s safe to drive their vehicle and when they should get it checked out by a professional.

7. How to Make Simple Repairs

Knowing how to repair basic things in their new home can help keep your child from paying out of pocket for simple fixes. The average American spent about $975 on household repairs in 2021. Teaching your child how to repair the basic things might cut out some of the need for them to call a professional. While DIY solutions shouldn’t be implemented every time, they can help your college student save money.

8. How to File Taxes

If your child hasn’t had a job before but plans to get one in college, they need to know how to file taxes. Most high schools don’t cover this topic, but it’s an essential part of life that everyone experiences. It’s even more important for your child to know how to file taxes if they’re working a 1099 job as a contractor, as they’ll have to set aside some of their paychecks for tax purposes.

9. How to Bandage a Wound

Almost 45% of Americans don’t have first aid kits in their household, making them woefully unprepared for any injuries that may suddenly arise. Teaching your child how to stock and use a first aid kit is one of the most important things you can do. You never know what could happen in your kid’s dorm or apartment, so making sure they know how to be safe is one of the most important lessons you can teach them.

10. How to Advocate for Themselves

As much as you want to protect your child, you can’t shield them from everything in life. Therefore, you need to teach them how to advocate for themselves.

College will present several new challenges in all realms — academically, socially and professionally.

Teaching your child to stand up for themselves is helping them be seen and heard as an adult who’s making their way in the world.

Part of preparing your child for the world is teaching them it’s okay to set boundaries with the people they love.

Boundaries ensure that your child is treated fairly and respect themselves. With proper boundaries, peer pressure won’t be an issue for your child to say no to.

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Teach Your Child Everything You Can

While you’ll always be a phone call away, your child needs to know how to do some things for themselves.

Don’t worry — they’ll likely take advantage of your services when they come home for holidays with a basket of dirty laundry.

You want your kids to grow into self-sufficient adults. They’ll feel more independent, and you’ll get to know you fully prepared your kid for the world they’re making a name for themselves in.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.