For 18 years, you’ve clothed, fed, sheltered, and kept them safe. Now they’re off to college. It’s an exciting time for kids, but it can also be a scary time for parents. It never hurts to go over some basic campus safety tips before they go. They may not love a safety lecture, but even if just a few points stick it could make all of the difference.
Once the important lecture is over you can move on to discussing something more fun, like how to decorate their dorm room!
1. Keep their dorm room locked
A lot of college students get lax on locks in favor of an open door policy. Tell them to keep the door locked when away and especially while sleeping.
2. Hide valuables
Most valuables can stay at home, but inevitably students will have some electronics or jewelry with them that will need to find a safe place. Don’t let them tempt fate by leaving goods out in the open.
3. Guard personal and financial information
There are some things that should never be shared with friends and that list includes their social security number, pin numbers, and bank account numbers.
Learn 13 ways you can prepare your college student for financial independence!
4. Make new friends wisely
Meeting new people and building new relationships is one of the best parts about the college experience. It’s okay for them to make fast friends, but they shouldn’t let their guard down right away. They should use their gut and make sure new acquaintances earn and deserve their trust.
5. Stay alert
College kids tend to zone out with their headphones and smartphone as they walk around campus. That makes them vulnerable. It’s important to stay aware of surroundings, especially when walking alone at night. Encourage kids to always have a buddy on those late night walks to a cafeteria.
6. Don’t stay out alone
The buddy system especially applies when they head to a party. If all of their friends decide to call it a night and head back to the dorm, they should go with them. They shouldn’t stay at a party without people they know and trust no matter how much fun they’re having.
7. Have a health plan
Get familiar with the services offered at the on-campus health center. You may also want to look up doctors in the area that are part of your health insurance network as well as after hours emergency care. If your student wears contacts or has a specialty health need, you may also want to find doctors that fit that area of expertise.
8. Make healthy choices
The “freshman 15” is real! So it’s important you talk about living a healthy lifestyle. Many campuses are doing more to help students eat healthy in the cafeteria. It’s also important for students to incorporate some form of physical activity into their routine.
9. Speak up if something doesn’t feel right
A lot goes unreported because college students are scared to speak up. If something seems suspicious or makes your child uncomfortable, it’s important for them to know they can and should let someone know. Encourage kids to build a relationship with the Resident Assistant (RA) in their dorm, but also know when a situation warrants emergency measures like calling 911.