Career Development

Life Skills For Preparing Your Kids For A Successful College Future

Here are some important life skill competencies which can give your children a leg-up in their futures for college and the rest of their lives thereafter.

1. It is never too early to begin preparing for college.

Preparing for college should begin as soon as elementary school. Start by helping your child organize a list of long term goals. These goals will change as your child matures and furthers their educational careers, but starting a list of goals can help your child become organized and goal oriented. Organization and list-making is a great habit to instill at an early age. Even as adults, being prepared and understanding what goals we want to accomplish helps us stay on track and allows for some sense of accountability. Understanding what your children may desire for their future helps them formulate a plan of achievement and helps them self monitor their progress. There are many new scholastic tools like student agendas from Meridian Planners that can help your child begin making achievable long term plans.

2. Financial literacy.

Children must have a strong understanding of fiscal responsibility. It is never too early to begin preparing your child toward this goal. Many families give their children some type of allowance. It is vital that these allowances be given as reciprocity for deeds or work done. This helps build a strong work ethic and understanding of earning power. When money is earned children should understand how to save for things they may need or want. It isn’t enough to have money to spend frivolously, help them make a savings plan and budget. This life lesson will prepare them for adulthood where they will be solely responsible for their own financial security. Education.com recommends once your child reaches the appropriate age help them setup a checking account and have a discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of credit and credit cards.

3. Understanding emotional stability and instability of adolescence. 

As children mature, especially during their teenage years, their bodies undergo massive chemical changes. This can lead to emotional difficulties associated with teenage maturity. Parents need to understand that these chemical imbalances are physiological and lead to psychological imbalances and behavioral changes. Helping your children understand themselves and the changes they may be undergoing can lead them to make better decisions. Help your child formulate strategies for coping with their emotion states and changes will be prepare them for future emotional challenges. Encourage your children to write and keep personal journals and record daily thoughts and feelings. Writing things down can help them track changes and help process their feelings.

4. Developing strong and responsible decision making skills.

Parents are inherently geared to make important decisions for their children. Parents set household rules and childhood boundaries. When a child leaves the home and begins to create a life of independence, the parameters of those boundaries will begin to widen and are often pushed due to peer pressure. By fully developing the first three competencies children will better understand how to make better decisions when their boundaries begin to widen. Allow your children to make some significant life decisions on their own. They may fail or make bad choices but making bad choices under your protection can help them learn valuable consequences with less risk than when they become independent.

5. Teaching effective time management.

The skill of time management is extremely important for any child to develop and managing time is a learned skill. Children learn this skill from their parents. Parents must lead by example. If children see their parents in a constant state of dishevel and chaotic rush, this may imprint into them a poor example of planning and time management. Take steps to ensure your children learn the benefits of proper time management. Give them a calendar and encourage them to organize their activities and daily lives. By instating this skill early children will learn to analyze and conceptualize their daily and future lives. This may also help children prioritize their activities and desires and help them make decisions on which of their activities are most important to achieving their goals.

It is important for any parent to understand that our children need help, encouragement and learned skill-sets to help them mature into fully functioning and successful adults. By starting early we can help ensure a successful future for our children. These are just a few examples and ideas that will give your children the best chances in their future in their college endeavors and the rest of their lives.

This is a guest post contributed by Becky Wilcox.

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