Pack a Quick-Go Bag for Sudden Emergencies

Pack a Quick-Go Bag for Sudden Emergencies

Is your teen ready to come home at a minute’s notice?

Guess what? We are living in the day of weird circumstances, and we need to be prepared. Our teens need to be prepared. Is your teen going back to college? What if campus suddenly closes down again? What if there is a family emergency that your teen needs to leave for on a minute’s notice? Here are some ideas for an emergency road trip kit for your teen.

Colleges are preparing for the return of students, for whatever that may look like. Is your teen preparing to head back to college? Is your teen headed for the first time?

We need to help our teens to prepare for any type of circumstance so that in the moment of an emergency, they won’t need to think about it.  Here are tips for packing an emergency road trip kit.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. My full disclosure policy is here.

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A bag to pack in

This set of 4 mesh bags. These will need to be filled with all of your teens favorite personal items. When purchasing things for this next school year, whether it will be a dorm room or apartment, go ahead and purchase some travel size items for this bag. Don’t forget a brush, and toothbrush with toothpaste. And, make sure your girls don’t forget some personal hygiene items.

Packing cubes will provide a little bit more room. Maybe use these for a quick change of clothes, dividing by category.

General supplies

Car phone charger -Be sure to remind your teen to always keep their phone charged.

Flashlight, and they need to be sure to regularly change out the batteries!

First aid kit to leave in the car!

Kitty littler because if your teen gets stuck then this can be poured down for traction. Road salt or sand will work as well.

Duct tape is always a great thing to have around. You never know when it might come in handy.

Medications and/or medical supplies

Please remind your student to keep their meds locked up in some sort of a safe. We found out the hard way that this type of theft is very common on college campuses. Here are other size safes for this type of situation. Remember to remind your teen to have a few over-the-counter drug items in their car as well, such as Advil for a headache that will come with stress.

Weekly medicine organizer which can be used all the time anyway.

Here is a pouch for all kinds of medicine.

Cleanliness items

Wet wipes are really hard to come by, but a travel size would be great.

Antibacterial hand wipes are a must. If you cannot find any, here is a recipe for making your own.

Liquid hand soap can be put into a smaller bottle for travel. This is great if your teen needs to stop and remembers to take it in in case there is nothing in soap dispenser!

Spray disinfectant for quick cleaning after visiting a gas station or wherever.

Covid supplies

Face masks -Sign of the times we live in, but having a pack of these in the car is something we all ought to be doing now, especially if traveling.

Disposable gloves -Another item to have in your car for pumping gas, exchanging money or even going in to use a restroom on a road trip.

Anti Touch, No-Touch Door Opener -This thing is a stylus, hands-free button-pusher, cool little gadget! We should all be carrying this in our wallets. This is one of the most multifunctional tools that I have seen.

Food for the road

Have a few snacks on hand, just in case. Even just one or two in one of the above bags is a great head start for a quick trip.

Trail or nut mixes are great for travel.

Frooze balls, these are yummy.

Money or gift cards

This is super important. They should put some cash in small bills, 20s or less in their safe to grab on the run. Also, if they have a credit card, they need to be sure to have that with their driver’s license. Having a few gift cards would be great if they need to stop for food or gas anywhere!

The Amazon Rewards card is great because you win when they spend. Having a credit card will be peace of mind for you if they do end up on the road. Our oldest got his first credit card his junior year of college. I think that this depends on the teen and their responsibility level.



Winter road trip emergency kit

Remind your teens that even if they don’t wear a coat, they should have one in the car for a road trip in case something happens. Same with boots and possibly a heavy sweater, especially if they are going to be traveling through cold weather states.

In cold weather, they should keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. Before a longer trip, your teen should have their car serviced or at least have a trip check. Remind them a couple of weeks before a trip to make an appointment to get their car taken care of by a mechanic.

Jumper cables -These are actually good at any time, but for sure in the cold weather.

Ice scraper -Just put this under the seat until cold weather hits. I like this one a lot!

Reflective triangles -Again, these are good to have at any time, but especially if something happens on the road.

Emergency blanket or a heavy travel blanket for the road to keep warm, just in case.

Snow shovel -I like this one, it’s a 3-in-1. it’s collapsible and has a couple of attachments.

Some things to think about at any time

Help your teen to learn to know where the nearest exit is no matter where they are. Movie theater, mall, restaurant etc. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that you can take nothing for granted. Our kids and teens need to be able to think on their feet. When we notice out loud things like seeing where exit signs are, keeping track of directions on the way to a new place or even reminding them that they really shouldn’t open a door to strangers-even now that they are older, we are helping our teens to be more prepared for emergency situations.

I am not saying that we need to become doomsday preppers, but helping our teens to be ready for anything will reduce their stress in the event of an emergency.

Be sure that your teen knows to have their car regularly maintained. Another thing that we have told our teens is to always have at least half a tank of gas these days, just to be sure they can get out of town at the very least.

Through readiness and discipline, we are the masters of our fate.” -Bill Paxton

This was a different type of post for me. As I was researching this idea, it made me feel a little unsettled. But, I wanted you to think about what your teen may need in certain circumstances. This is not something that we might have thought about even 6 months ago. But, being prepared is never a bad thing. This preparation will take some of the extra stress away if something were to happen when your student is away at school.

I hope that this emergency road trip kit is not necessary, but I hope that your teen takes one as they head back to school!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

Other posts that you might want to take a look at: 10 Things Your Freshman Will Definitely Need in Their Dorm Room, Is Your Teen Headed Back to College? Tips for Success, 15 Ways Parents Can Help a Stressed Out Teen

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What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm?

What Will My Freshman Need In The Dorm?

Hey, it’s approaching soon–moving your kiddo into their freshman dorm…  That bittersweet day when your baby-not-baby heads off to college.  How can this be?  Just yesterday he was crawling around in his diaper!  Just yesterday she was playing with her baby doll and twirling around the house in her little tutu! Now you are wondering, “What will my college freshman need in the dorm?”

You blinked, and now they are practically grown!  Seriously, we have to think about moving them out of our houses and into a dorm room at college.  It’s not so bad if you are organized to begin with.  I am here to help!

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*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. My full disclosure policy is here.

Things to think about before the move-in

First, remember that space is limited, so making careful choices is important. Second, if you have a girl, then she will probably want to decorate and make her room super cute.  If you have a boy, then for the most part, he could probably care less.  My 2 boys are of the care less sort.

The items on this list are not decorative, but super useful for any college student. They are in no particular order of importance, but all will be necessary! One thing that I suggest you that you do, is to purchase a couple of things a month over the spring and summer before so that it’s not one big expensive month right before! Another option would be to divide the list of needs with the other roommate.

When I was a senior, my mom gave me one or two things a month for the whole year before college, so that by the time I went away, I had everything that I needed:)

Please check out my comprehensive lists on Amazon.  I created lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies,  These are pages I created on Amazon’s website where you can actually go shop right from the list!  Check them out!

Grab everything all at once and have it all delivered right to your door!  You are welcome😀

What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

Have you thought about the legal implications for your teen turning 18?

HIPAA, FERPA, Selective Service… Check out my post which addresses all of those topics and what you should think about for your teen at their 18th birthday. There are so many things that I hadn’t even thought about, so, please inform yourself.

Items for move-in day

Before I start the list, you need to think about moving all the stuff in! Here are a couple of things that I would totally recommend having on hand. First, Ikea Frakta bags -these are the bomb, and order early because these go fast! A door stopper is great for all the in and outs. The other item I would recommend having is a collapsible wagon. This can be stored under your student’s bed and then used for laundry, groceries or hauling things back out to their car for holidays etc.

Also, will you teen be driving a lot? They should have a safety container in their car for travel. This is a great place to put those legal forms that you work on above. If your teen will be on the road for long distance travel at all, I have some tips on an emergency kit for their car. Check it out here.

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What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

What will my college freshman need in the dorm? 

Before you get anything, check with the college and the roommate so that you have the room dimensions, allowed items, and know what each roomie is going to bring. This will save you time and money. Remember to buy small. They can always replace when they run out of something. Horizontal space is limited, so be creative!

Before you spend the money on a microwave and/or refrigerator, check with the school because they may have a rental program with the exact model that they allow. Otherwise, think small, and stack the microwave on top of the fridge!

What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

Multi-plug outlet/chargerthis has outlets, USB ports, and a timer, and even has a surge protector. This is a MUST! Be sure to have a long phone cord for charging because you never know where the closest outlet will be!

Surge protector -many schools won’t allow extension cords, so grab one of these and, be sure to get one with lots of outlets.

Whiteboardkeep track of schedule, lists, write note to roommate etc. Here are some great accessories! Markers, graphic chart tape in various colors,  and whiteboard crayons for fun! 

Under the bed storage -this is great for out-of-season clothing, and other rarely used items. A suitcase will work for this as well. One good thing to have is an overnight bag or gym bag in case your student goes away for a weekend with friends.

What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

Keurig -This is great not just for coffee. Your student can heat up water for ramen, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. A Brita pitcher is nice, too, depending on the taste and quality of the water. Be sure to get the smallest that you can for each since their space is so limited!

Area rugThis is for comfort, as well as style. It can be a basic monotone rug or multi-colored or patterned one. Stepping onto a rug is so much nicer than a plain, tiled floor, especially in the middle of the night! Don’t forget a rug gripper pad to keep it in place, and a small vacuum to keep it clean.

Mattress topper -Must have because the mattresses in dorm rooms are awful! Be sure that you find out the size of the mattress, sometimes they are twin XL, and sometimes not. Mattress protector, 2 sets of sheets, and a cozy comforter are a must as well. My boys didn’t care what any of it looked like, but if you have a girl or a guy who cares, then you will get to have so much fun with this part!

Command hooks-many different sizes for hanging everything! Small, medium and large are all available. These can be used for a million reasons around a dorm room. And, these ceiling hooks are awesome for hanging flags or other lightweight items.

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Shower caddySo handy for the dorm shower, even if you have a suite setup, it keeps all your “stuff” together!  Don’t forget to pick up a pair of shower shoes while you’re at it!

Prop-up bed wedge -I like the one in this picture because it has a removable cover, and it’s oversized. It’s a bit more expensive, but no telling what might spill on this in a dorm room! Grab a bedside shelf or organizer– so great in the limited space of a tiny room.

Desktop fan -A dorm room can be really stuffy!

Prime Student 6-month TrialThis is the best!  Videos, books for college and your kindle app, and lots more. *(Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size) * Exclusive deals and promotions for college students!)

Laptop computerEvery school is different, so you need to have your student check to see which computer is recommended.  My oldest son got this for graduation, and our middle son got this one. They each had different wants and needs, and they have both been happy with their choices.

Laundry basketDon’t forget to grab detergent, stain stick, and dryer sheets while you’re at it.  Also, check out this tiny air purifier that just plugs into an outlet and is the size of your fist. (It does not require a filter, and would be great in a dorm room for freshness.  It will eliminate odors, bacteria, and allergens.)

What will my freshman need in the dorm?

Printer -Most kids assume that since there is free printing in many places on campus, they won’t need a printer of their own. What they don’t think about is that many times that means a walk to the bookstore or the learning lab or wherever the school printer happens to be.

A few cleaning supplies would be handy as well. Antibacterial wipes, room deodorizer, small trash bags, multi-purpose cleaner, and paper towels are all a good call.

Dorm safe -This is almost a must. My son was on meds that his friends always wanted. It was so much easier on him to be able to lock it up and not worry about it. They can also lock up their money, gift cards and jewelry.

First aid/health kit -This will come in so handy, and it can be refilled and personalized with specific meds and extra band-aids etc.

Toolkit -My son took a toolkit that my husband put together for him. He told me that almost every day someone needed something out of his kit! He also had a box of extras like scissors, flashlight, batteries, zip ties, liquid nails, thumb tacks,

 

What will my college freshman need in the dorm?

And, just for fun, these LED strip lights are so cool! My friend has them around the white boards in her classroom, and I thought they would be so much fun around the frame of the beds in a dorm room. They can be set to one color or set to change.

There you go.  All of the most useful items already in a list for you!  Be sure to check out my more comprehensive lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies.

Make the most out of your last months as you answer the question, “What will my freshman need in college?”

Fall semester is quickly approaching.  Enjoy your last month of summer! Get some hugs in if your kid will let you, and make family time happen! I am thinking of you because we have been there. I’ve gone through it twice now. so I know how quickly this all goes.

I hope that I was able to answer your question, “What will my freshman need in the dorm?” I am definitely sending my love to you all in this really bittersweet time! 

What will my freshman need in the dorm and how are they this old?

Other helpful ideas as you help your teen prepare for college

Another place with good gift ideas for teens, some of which would be good for dorm rooms, is this post. Check out my Pinterest board- Dorm Room Ideas with all sorts of ideas or College Hacks for even more ideas!  Good luck and have fun! Don’t forget about organizing and preparing the best backpack with all the essentials needed to be out of the dorm or apartment all day.

Do you have a younger teen in high school or middle school? Grab my high school parenting toolkit!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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What will my freshman need in the dorm?

 

Middle School:  Advice for Success

Middle School: Advice for Success

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Start Early with these tips for Middle School Success!

Middle school is a time of transition and growing.  Your child leaves elementary school, and has three years to be ready for high school!  How is this possible?  Here are some hard-won lessons learned from getting three kids through these years for middle school success.

Both you and your teen have lots to learn.  It is a challenging time, in fact, this might be the most challenging age since they were toddlers!  These years can be difficult, but you can help your child start some forward thinking with some of these strategies, and you guys can survive.

Quick update: I am now teaching middle school. I can tell you that these kids are savvy! They already have ideas about what they want and don’t want. Take advantage of this time! It goes so quickly…

*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Middle School: 9 Tips for Success|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Start the thinking process!

Begin talking about things that your child likes to do or that they are interested in or are good at. Do a Google search for schools with different majors that you think of together. Start conversations with your child when you are with other adults and talk with them about their jobs.

Check out my book.  Some, if not all, of these conversations really are better if started before high school!  Here’s a link to the book,  College Bound:  The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School.  

What types of things do these adults like, and/or dislike, about their jobs.  What are the expectations at their workplaces?  Do they have really long hours, or maybe just a four day week?  How much did they make starting out?  How much school was required?

Adults usually love it when a kid is willing to talk and have an actual conversation with them, so encourage them to ask away.  Plus, it’s an added bonus to that adult that your child is asking questions and interested in them.

Think about future job possibilities.

Help your child to start looking around at different jobs that people have wherever you all are.  Even when watching a show, try to notice how many jobs there are on that show.  Watch the news for different stories about people’s lives and what they do during the day.

These conversations can be very interesting to say the least, it’s amazing what they know and think that they know.  Remember, though, that it’s a conversation, not time to lecture!

My video goes into more detail about this here. And be sure to read on below the video for the rest of the story!

Try new things for middle school success.

Middle school is the perfect time to try some new things.

Try a club if it sounds interesting.  Try to stick with it for the year.  Sometimes these start out a little boring because no one knows each other yet.  Give it a chance.  If it is just not a good fit, then try something else.

Run for an office in a club or be in charge of a particular event.  This is good practice for more leadership in high school.

Try out for a sport.  This is the time to do some of these things to get a taste to see if it is something that might be a good fit.  Most kids at this age make the team.  It’s a good time to learn about a sport, especially if your child hasn’t played it before.  There are lots of beginners at this age as well as other kids who have played for years.  You will see it all in middle school!

Try out an instrument for all of these same reasons.

Again, if your student doesn’t just love something, then they have tried and now they know!  The great thing about middle school is that it’s practice for being in high school without the pressure of grades counting and everything being super competitive.

Thankfully, middle school success doesn't depend on playing in band!

Take the aptitude tests seriously.

As the future gets closer, tell your student not to just blow these tests off.  These tests are really a tool to help decipher personality traits, likes and dislikes, and many other factors which might help steer your child in a direction they have never even considered.  Many give really good ideas if honest and thoughtful answers are provided.

Here is a website that gives great links to some of these tests, and most are free! You can sign up for Loren’s services, but you do not have to!

Right now jobs with good employment rates are engineering, administration, many sciences, and graphic design.  Many jobs are not even listed yet–BECAUSE they have not been invented yet!  85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not even exist today!

Middle school success does not depend on these scores, however the information that can be gained from these results if your teen takes it seriously might be really helpful!

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Start early for middle school success!|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Have conversations.

If I could go back and do one thing differently, it would to be to have more conversations about all of this.  We are trying this a lot more with our youngest son.  No decision needs to be made at this point.  But, just having these sort of conversations will really help with everyone’s mindset as high school is looming just ahead.

One big mistake is to wait until junior year to start all these conversations and by then your kids are so super busy and there is a lot going on in general.  Give yourselves the gift of time. Here’s the link to a post with 5 tips to improve communication with your teen.

This is also a good time to start keeping track of all activities because as your child moves forward, especially by high school, a good record of all this needs to be kept from the beginning of freshman year.

Check out my parent toolkit for this and other ways to help your teen through these busy years!

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Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school.  Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13!  These are good ones to try for, because who knows this?  No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them.  Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available.  They will be organized in many ways.  Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for.  Many can and should be deleted.  Don’t go crazy with this.  Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

Two AMAZING resources are:

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. Monica has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful!  I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog.  

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here.  She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships.  Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and creates a yearly Scholarship Guide.  I liked her webinar. Very honest and tells it like it is. 

Practice writing a few essays.

Good topics for essays are:  goals and aspirations, how to help the environment, safe driving habits (such as no texting and driving), and where do you see yourself in 20 years. Just having these few essays in their pocket will be super helpful in the whole process because they can be tweaked and used more than once.

There will be more and more writing in high school, so this is good practice.  Also, many colleges require an essay on their application, so these could be used again for that.

Set up a calendar for college related items.

This can be a dedicated calendar for scholarship due dates (pretend that they are actually due earlier than actual date, so they are never late) and also test dates like the ACT and SAT.  Eventually, in high school, due dates for applications can also be added.  There are many due dates, so a calendar dedicated to just college can be super helpful.

Books to read that will help!

Here are some great books to help you through the middle school years! A few by name are: Middle School Matters, Middle Schooled, Middle School Makeover, and Planet Middle School.

Talk about finances

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

Here is a little bit about John-  ‘ I’m John Q. Miller and I’m been a financial coach of some sort for over 20 years. I have a passion for financial literacy for kids. I especially like to share how my wife and I raised our two daughters and taught them lifelong lessons about personal finance. We gave them a head start for financial freedom that we didn’t have when we ventured out into the world as young adults.’

This is a lot!!!

Do not try to do this all at once! Middle school lasts three years, so give yourself grace. Try one thing at a time. Get to know your child as they mature and grow into young adults. The main thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your child so that all of this planning and prep work is done together.

It’s too much for any one person.Get on the same page as your spouse, significant other, or ex– or as close as possible because it is your kid’s future that is important right now.  There will be times that you don’t work on any of this because you are busy and have a life.  When you can, take baby steps into this whole process, the chances of middle school success will increase. It is a really exciting and fun time for all!

Related posts:  Why Toddlers and Teens are So Similar, Mom, Take Care of Yourself!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen

How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen

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Plan a budget for college!

We have had two sons in college, and the second time around was much easier because we knew what to expect!  The biggest concern for us, and many others are all of the expenses.  Here are some things that we learned the first (and second) time around, as we planned a budget for college.

Make sure that you and your senior are on the same page about all expenses.

There are the expenses that you know about.  There will always also be some things that come up unexpectedly; those can be dealt with as they occur.

*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Living Expenses

Living expenses are a big deal.

Where will your student live?  There will be choices for housing from the actual dorms to the types of rooms.  Will they have a roommate?  Will you pay for the items that they decorate their room with or will they be expected to pay for some?  Is there a set amount you are willing to spend for this?  Another type of living expense is the meal plan.

Budget for college

Look at all of the choices and let your student know which of these is the one you are willing to pay for.  There are usually tiered levels of dorms and meal plans which include different levels of amenities etc. These types of expenses can be crazy expensive even when you set limits.

My suggestion is to start with one of the least expensive, and see how that goes. If you teen needs more, you can add. But, remember that they will eat off of campus some, and probably snack in their rooms as well.

Know that the Cost of Attendance is so much more than the information below. Here is my YouTube video discussing what actual COA is for attending college, and the things to consider. Read on below for more details.

Tuition and Books

Tuition and books are the other biggie.

Tuition costs are set per hour. So, the cost is determined by the number of classes your teen takes. One option to look into is getting some of the gen. ed. classes taken care of at a local community college-these will cost so much less! Online is another option. Work with the school counselor to look into different possibilities.

Your student will need books. These can be rented or shared to save on the cost. Another way to save is to check out the library- many schools have their textbooks available there for students to use.

There are many websites that rent, including Amazon, which has worked well for both renting and purchasing for my oldest son. We sit down before each semester with both our computers open. He logs into his school bookstore, and I log into Amazon. In most cases the cheapest option is to RENT from Amazon! There are a few exceptions, but know that the return policy for Amazon is super easy and user-friendly. (All of these links to Amazon in this paragraph will take you straight to the textbook rental portal.)

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Here are some books that helped us so much! (I am adding their newest version)

The Ultimate Scholarship Book

College Bound

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

Admission Matters

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Shop Amazon – Rent Textbooks – Save up to 80%

Day to day expenses.

These expenses are for things like a meal off of campus, personal grooming items or school supplies that run out, and new clothing or shoes. What will you be willing to spend on these types of items? What will you expect your student to spend of their own money, if any? Be as detailed as possible to plan the best budget for college for your teen.

A great way to plan ahead to make the most of all the time and money spent on college is to work with a college and career planner. This will take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. My friend Loren has got a great program for teens and their parents. There are assessments that your teen can take, and then she can help with some of the decision making. I wish that I had had her back in the day when my older two were planning! As my youngest gets a little older, Loren is going to be my secret weapon!

Help your teen plan a budget for college!

Senior year in high school is the best time to start! Don’t wait until next year!

What do you spend now on your kid for day-to-day expenses? Does your child have a job? Should they get one?  Are you planning on them working in college for their extra expenses? Either way, you need to figure out what the budget will be.

There are many ways of working this out with your kids. For our boys, we pay for school, housing with a meal plan, and books. Anything, else is on them such as meals off of campus, fraternity, and clothes. This means that they have worked since they were 15 during summers, and part time during school each year for their spending money.

Our oldest son was able to get a great scholarship package for his grades, ACT, BSA Eagle and Boy’s State. We aren’t really spending much on him at all. Our second son will have a different situation, but we have already talked with him at length about this, and he knows what the budgeted amount will be. He also has his BSA Eagle, but not the other accolades. He will utilize the A+ program in community college.

A+ Program

Our state (Missouri) has a great program called the A+ Program. If a student shows good citizenship, has the required attendance, the required GPA, and with teacher supervision tutors a peer for at least 50 hours, then they graduate with A+ requirements on their record. (There are a few other items on the list, but these are the main ones.)

This is a great help for getting community college, and hopefully an Associate’s Degree, basically for free-except for books! The specifics are in the link above. You should check with your school to see about any type of program such as this for a student who does not excel in school or on standardized tests.

Discuss ALL of these expenses to plan a budget for college.

Look at the college website. Open all tabs on the website pertaining to costs and scholarships. (Look for all of the fees!  There are things like parking fees, technology fees, health insurance fees…) Be open about what you as parents are thinking is a reasonable budget. Listen to and encourage questions from your child. One thing that we have learned is that they don’t know what they don’t know. Spell everything out as clearly as possible.

Don’t wait until they are headed to college. Neither side should have to assume anything! You know what your budget is, so tell your child up front. Your child may have some expectations as well. This is the time to lay it all out on the table. I wrote another blog post on paying for college. Check it out here.

Some sample expenses for freshman year could be: car payment and insurance, gas, cell phone, fun money for going out, groceries (for dorm room, also toiletries as they run out), clothing, student loan payments, credit card…  What is your child responsible for now? Will it be the same when they are gone at college? If you would like it to be different than what it is now, then now is the time to change things!

Even the cat says, "Budget for college!"

Talk about future finances!

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

Here is a little bit about John-  ‘ I’m John Q. Miller and I’m been a financial coach of some sort for over 20 years. I have a passion for financial literacy for kids. I especially like to share how my wife and I raised our two daughters and taught them lifelong lessons about personal finance. We gave them a head start for financial freedom that we didn’t have when we ventured out into the world as young adults.’

Budget for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Need a plan?

Check out my budget planner for you and your soon-to-be college student to fill out together.

As you and your teen plan for this big event, be sure that you have a plan for their next four years. What I mean is, do you all know what the ultimate goal is besides graduating? With a good plan in place, a couple of things can happen. First, your child can graduate in four years, which can be a huge savings! That extra semester or two can be an enormous expense. Second, by having a good plan in place, you and your child can be sure that the degree they have chosen is marketable, and that the chances of getting a job at graduation are greater.

My friend Loren Kelly has a great program which will help your family with some of these choices. She can help you to figure out what degree will match your teen’s interests and make sure that they get on and stay on the right track. Loren has few programs which can really help you all as you make plans.

Planning a budget for college is so important!

All things considered, start these discussions SOONER THAN LATER. This can be a fun time to figure things out together, and to make decisions as a team.

Good luck to you all! Let me know how this goes for you!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

Check out these blog posts: College Bound: Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School, Freshman Dorm Necessities, High School Parent Toolkit, and The Truth about College and Student Loan Debt

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Budget for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

 

 

 

 

 

Backpack Essentials for College:  What You Must Have

Backpack Essentials for College: What You Must Have

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Backpack essentials for high school or college

Packing an organized backpack for high school or college is essential to academic survival. It is much smarter to plan ahead for classes, emergencies, and daily occurrences than to just throw a bunch of stuff in your pack and go. Grab this list of backpack essentials before your teens head off for college!

Backpack Essentials for College|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

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One thing that all the students I asked had in common, was that they didn’t think about any of this before they were in high school or college, depending on the age of student I asked.  Now that they have been in school, these are the things that they make sure that they always carry.

Each student and schedule will be different.  Sometimes even from one semester to another, so think carefully, and readjust as the semester continues.  *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. My full disclosure policy is here.

Here is a list of college student backpack essentials

I gathered this list from six current college students.  There were no differences for the high school students I asked. It just depended on their class load at the time.

  1.  Wireless earbudsThese will come in handy for walking across campus, working out, and listening to music while studying.

2.  Chapstick– This is long-lasting and has both UVA and UVB protection. It comes in a tube, not a stick, so it won’t melt.

3.  Water bottle– This bottle is great with many features.  It folds up, has a wide mouth, leak proof, and is BPA free.

4.  PlannerBasic or bullet, makes no difference!  Just make sure you use one!

 

                       

      5.  Jacket or sweatshirt-This is always great if there’s a cold classroom or you are just cold in general.        6.  Portable charger– You will need one for your phone for sure, but an extra charger for your laptop is a good idea as well.  You never know what kind of day you will have!  Here is a smaller option.      7.  Small office supplies–  I asked a number of students what this would include for them.  These are the things that they listed.  Small stapler, post-its, graphing calculator, tape, pencils and pens.                          

      8.  A small pouch for personal items-Kleenex, hair ties, your favorite pain reliever, feminine products, and gum.       9.  Last but not least, an umbrella!-Don’t get caught out in the rain with one.  This particular one is windproof, which also comes in handy.


This is by no means a complete list of college backpack essentials!

However, when you are planning on your first semester at college or your last semester, the biggest takeaway I have gotten from the students that I spoke with is to be organized and be prepared for a long day.  One thing I forgot from this list would be hand sanitizer, (these are cute and clip onto your key ring). Don’t forget it! Be sure to check out my complete lists for dorm room essentials and college school supplies!

You might check out these related posts:  What Your Teen Will Need in a Dorm Room and Your Parental Rights Change When Your Teen Turns 18.

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Backpack Essentials for College|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

 

 

 

 

Is Your Teen Headed Back to College?  Strategies for Success

Is Your Teen Headed Back to College? Strategies for Success

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Have you got a teen headed back to college in a few days?

Have you had a great holiday/summer together? Are you ready for them to go back? If you have a teen headed back to college then here are some tips for success that can be discussed with your student.

Our break been such a great time together!  It is amazing how “smart” my boys now are! The opinions keep on rolling out about everything! Evidently my husband and I aren’t really in the know about anything! (Insert rolling eyes here!)

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teen headed back to college

All joking aside, going back to school can be stressful for many of our kids. They might not have had a very good semester/year scholastically. There may be roommate drama.

The food was probably not what they expected:) There may also be social issues that are bothering them. Maybe they didn’t make as many friends as they thought that they would.

Have they changed majors?  Not had the experience that they were hoping for?  It’s never too late to try some new strategies for improving life at college!

Before they leave, sit down and talk with you teen about what their expectations are for the next semester. Do they have any worries? Do they need some different strategies to move forward? Honest conversations and a listening ear might go a long way towards easing their minds.

Going to college is stressful, even under the best of circumstances! Classes, roommates, scheduling time for activities and studying are all considerations. Encourage your teen to think through some strategies for success before they head back to school. *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

(As our teens head back during this time of COVID, be sure that you have some of these conversations that you might not otherwise have to think about. Let them know of any plans that might need to be if their campuses are suddenly closed down–what should they do?)

Get more sleep

Sleep is a great healer. It helps our bodies to reset for the next day. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep helps our brains to think–seriously, fewer mistakes are made after a good night’s sleep. Creativity and attention span are also improved after the right amount of zzzzzzz’s. Encourage your student to set a schedule and include enough time for sleep, including time for the occasional nap! Here is a guest post by Carolyn from Top-Mom.com about sleep and your teen.

Create a working schedule

Note the use of the word “working”. That means that the schedule is a work in progress. Tweaks and adjustments can be made at any time to make it more functional. If something isn’t working, then change it.

As your teen is headed back to college, they need to schedule in plenty of time for studying. If your student has a part-time job, then maybe it needs to be more part time. Keeping track of grades is a great indicator of any adjustments that need to be made.

Weekly dose of parenting encouragement

Study

Have a frank discussion with your teen about your expectations for grades versus the amount of partying that you might be seeing on your teen’s Instagram. If you are paying for their education, then it is all right for you to set the parameters.

If they are paying (or have taken out loans), then the discussion still needs to take place. They need to know that the bill will be arriving as soon as they graduate, and even if they quit, they will owe the amount of the loans. This might be the piece of sobering information that they are needing.

Tidy Up

How many of you are addicted to Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up? I binge watched the whole first season! Tidiness is not my strength at all. But, I do know that when my space is clear and things have their own place, it is so much more relaxing and comfortable.  

Encourage your teens to try to keep their space back in the dorm/apartment fairly clean. It will help with their concentration for studying and with their sleep as well!

I know my boys have enjoyed having their own rooms for the break-space and room to really spread out! Of course, their rooms are complete messes right now, so I will be happy for those rooms to be clean again.

Talk to the roommate

Your teen is headed back to college, so encourage them to have a discussion with their roommate about next semester now. Let your teen know that their roommate may have things that they want to say to them as well. It is a conversation that could relieve a lot of pressure on both sides.

Start the conversation with the roommate by asking if there is anything that they would like to be different for the rest of the year or for the upcoming year. Hopefully, that will open up a dialogue. Remind your teen to stay positive, and not accusatory. Try to find compromises for the main things that are bothersome to each roommate. They might even try to write a roommate agreement for this next semester.

Exercise regularly

One more thing for your your teen headed back to college to remember, is that exercise is one of the best stress relievers there is! This is a great thing for them to add to their working schedule, and make a real effort to fit it in at least 3 times a week. Going to the gym is a great place to meet up with friends or to make new friends.

They should try different classes, different workout times, and different workouts to see what works best for them. There is no perfect answer, but switching things up is good for their body and makes things more fun, too.

Exercise is important as your teen heads back to college!

 

Heading back to school should hopefully be better if your teen considers trying even a couple of these strategies. Let them know you are always at the other end of a phone call or text, and that you love them no matter what.

Also remember that these kids will dump their buckets on us, and move on, so don’t take their stress on yourself either. Keep the lines of communication open, and keep encouraging them to take baby steps toward relieving their stress. Every little bit helps!

Do you have any good ideas for student stress relief? Please share this post with a friend, if you think that it would help someone’s child away at college. Remember, you can always pin it for later as well.

Related posts: Backpack Essentials for High School and CollegeWhat Will Your Freshman Actually Need in Their Dorm Room? and 10 Tips For Making a College Care Package, Preparing an Emergency Road Trip Kit for Your Teen

A wonderful post written by a good friend of mine about going back to school.  It has all sorts of links to many teen/college bloggers.  Check it out here!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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teen headed back to college

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