Preparing to be an Empty Nester
Years of savings and investments in your child’s future are coming to a head as the senior year is rolling by. Academically, your child is prepared to tackle the world of higher education, and financially, you’re prepared to foot the bill. But, is your child truly prepared for college? And even more so, are you truly prepared for your child to leave home for college?
High Stake Testing
It’s time to begin, if you haven’t already, to prepare your senior for high stake testing. These are big and long tests; so a good, healthy build up will get the family on track on what to expect. Unfortunately, a lot rides on the test score, so any measures toward your child’s success will be beneficial. Now is the time to talk to your child about how comfortable they feel about the SATs or ACTs and observe on whether you feel it’s beneficial to seek standardized test preparation and tutoring.
What to Expect
You were there holding your little kindergartner’s hand on the first day of school, and soon you’ll be experiencing your child off to college. Your child will be off preparing to make a mark on the world, and that should scare the living daylights out of you. You have to be asking yourself, “Is my child ready to live independently?”
As you prepare yourself to become an empty nester, and as your child finishes up the last few months of high school, you can put yourself at ease by reassuring yourself that your child is ready.
Balancing Freedom and Responsibility
The freedom that comes with leaving home for school is a lot for teenagers to digest. If you truly want to prepare your child for college, teach them how to make good choices. One characteristic that hinders many freshman students is — procrastination. Work with your child before he/she leaves home. Teach your child that procrastination is a thief—literally. It steals opportunity from students and money from parents. Instill this belief in your child before heading off to college. It can benefit your child academically and you financially.
Learning Is Not Just Doing
So many kids leave school thinking that they can just do something, and it constitutes learning. Doing is not learning—higher education requires critical thinking and problem solving, not just in academic settings, but also in daily life. With the absence of parents, young students are often forced to grow up quickly, and the life skills of critical thinking and problem solving can go a long way both inside and outside the classroom.
While there’s nothing you can do to stop time, there are a few things you can do to put your mind at ease. With the empty bank account comes an empty place in your home and your heart. Coping with the empty room and the quieter house will take time. Adjusting to the newly found free time will be a bit challenging. You may find yourself questioning where the time went.
Remember, this is not a time to be sorrowful but a time to be joyful. Take advantage of your new chapter and set an example to your child that life is full of adventure and you can adapt to change with a proactive approach. Start volunteering more, take up a new hobby or even re-invent yourself for new adventures. Also, keep your child involved and informed about your positive experiences.
Odds are, you’ll think of how someone told you that time goes by at the speed of light, and you’ll wish you would have slowed down and done a few more things. But, life can’t be rewound, so focus on the great things your child will contribute to the world—because you took the time to help prepare your child. And don’t forget to continue to be a positive role model.