No 1 – remember the internet
The internet isn’t just for making emails happen or video conferencing late at night. With the advent of sites like Amazon, and even eBay, it’s possible to buy almost any item and have it sent overnight to your child, wherever they are. That’s anything from loo rolls to letter-writing paper, and from instant noodles to ink jets. Surprise your children every so often, with something random or unexpected or even (quietly) practical, like a book on cooking inexpensive but nutritious meals for just one person. They’ll appreciate it.
Step 2 – remind them about staying safe
The world has changed. It’s good to let your children grow and stand on their own two feet; it’s a great idea to be the voice of reason every so often, and remind them about taking safety precautions when they’re living away from home. Simple things like locking dorm doors; synching personal data from mobile phones; getting taxis together – not walking home alone.
Step 3 – teach them good lessons (before they go to school)
Good Mums and Dads look after their children; great parents help their youngsters learn how to do the washing, the washing-up, and to wash themselves, regularly. All joking aside, personal hygiene is important. Remind your children to think about changing their bedding regularly and buying toiletries too (things like deodorant and toothpaste: it’s amazing what gets left off a shopping list, and then becomes a bad habit over time).
Step 4 – talk to them, get them to talk to other people
During secondary education, and even at college, your children will have received an education that’s been dictated by a national curriculum. But in lectures, at University, there’s much more freedom for tutors to deliver an education in different ways, and in different styles. Encourage your children to talk with their mentors, friends, and the tutors themselves if they feel they’re not getting good value – or they’re struggling to keep up.
Above all, relax – let your child know you’re still there, and that you’re proud of their achievements to date. And don’t be tempted to pile on the pressure for that ‘first’, as time goes by. Let your child flourish at University, it’s a brilliant start to life that can be made even better by having supportive parents.