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Preparing Your Child to Leave the Nest

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Moving out to attend college or to start a new life away from home is a very large step toward adulthood. Many parents are facing the prospect of preparing their child to live independently. Whether your child chooses to go to college and stay in a dorm, move into an apartment for the first time, or even relocate to a new city or state, you might wonder how to prepare them to move for this life change. The most important thing you can do to help them is to make sure they have a full understanding of the responsibilities ahead as they leave the nest.

As a parent, you're probably experiencing mixed emotions—proud to see your child move on to pursue their goals yet sad to see them leave. If your child is leaving home for the first time, knowing that they won't be around is difficult. Use these tips to help not only them, but you as well with this major life change.

Prepare Yourself
Whether you’re ready to accept it or not, separation between you and your child is coming. With this new separation comes anxiety for everyone involved. It might be difficult to let go, but it is necessary for them to become independent. Practice self-care so you can stay calm and centered — for yourself as well as for your child.

Help Them Plan Their Move
No matter where your child is moving, there’s a lot to plan for including things they need to pack and buy. Try asking what they need you to do and how you can help. You can suggest how they should go about moving their things and tell them about important things they might need. However, no child wants their parent to be overbearing in their big move, so take a step back and let them take charge and prepare for this change the way they need to.

Help Them Learn How to Budget
Make sure you go over any financial issues that your child needs to know, particularly if you are supporting them financially. They should be aware of their personal budget and know what you expect from them in terms of spending. Teach them how debit cards work, what a bank balance and interest are and how it can impact their budget. Don’t forget to have a discussion about credit cards,  late fees and how their credit score could impact them. Finally, talk to them about how important it is to get renters insurance.

This is a great time to establish credit as your child is now an adult, but it is important to stress the importance of never spending more on their credit card than they can pay back. Take a look at Budgeting 101- College Edition for additional financial tips that could help benefit your child.

Talk to Them
One of the most important tips is to let them know how proud and excited you are for them on their journey to adulthood. Everyone likes a little reassurance to know that they are doing the right thing and are on the right path. Ask if they need anything from you or how you can help with this new change they’re about to encounter. Some kids might want independence, while others will need more support and encouragement. Be their biggest supporter no matter what, and let them know you are there for them every step of the way on this new journey to independence.

Leaving the nest can be difficult for both children and their parents. If they’re prepared and follow these tips, it will make the big leap to independence and adulthood go a lot smoother.


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