It takes more than a mini fridge: How to get your kid ready to live on their own

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Taylor Donaldson just graduated from Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch.  In August, she plans to attend University of Colorado Colorado Springs and play lacrosse.

"I got a Keurig, and I have a mini fridge now, and I feel like an adult,” Taylor said.

Her mom, Cindy Staab, says she’s confident in Taylor, but she wants to make sure she is ready to be on her own.

“Roommates, I mean that's a lot different than just having sleepovers, so that will be hard. I think budget is always a big one,” Staab said.

Experts say this summer, it’s time to make a checklist.

  • Does your child know how to pump gas?
  • Does your child know how to clean and do laundry?
  • Does your child know how to live on a budget?
  • Does your child get out of bed on their own?

Child therapist Dr. Sheryl Ziegler says give your kids those kinds of responsibilities now.  “I think that there's a lot of responsibility stuff that sometimes as parents we don't realize we are still helping along with, and I think the summer before college is the time to really almost completely let that go back, and just say I have taught you all this, or I’m in process of teaching you this, and you need to practice it this summer.”

It’s also important, Ziegler said, to make sure your child can navigate their world.  “Kids will call their parents and say I`m on the campus, and class starts in five minutes, and I don't know where I'm going,” she said.

Help them use a campus map, or be confident enough to ask an adult for help.

Plus, Dr. Ziegler says it’s important to prepare kids to handle conflict. “I think everyone needs to learn how to have difficult conversations,” she said.

Help them figure out how to approach a roommate if there is a problem.

All of these things, she believes,  can help set them up for success.

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