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7 things to teach your teens when they move out for university

Author: Canadian Living

Family

7 things to teach your teens when they move out for university

Living at home is a luxury, whether your kids realize it or not. So when they leave home without Mom and Dad to do laundry, cook and clean, what's a university-bound teen to do? Going Solo  (Luma, 2008), written by Brenda Bradstreet, is a guidebook that outlines what your kids will need to know to survive their first years away from home. Ranging from the essentials that even your parents told you as a kid, to little unknown tips and tricks on how to make it on their own, this handbook is the perfect little present to slip into your teen's suitcase as they fly the nest.

Taking both traditional and little known tips from Going Solo, here's 7 important pearls of wisdom that your teen needs to know when leaving home.

1. The essentials of air quality
The last thing your child needs when heading off to school is a space with poor air quality that makes them sick during their years of study. Often ignored as a cause of sickness, the level of heat and humidity in the air can cause colds, sore throats, and even the flu. Keeping the residence temperature between 22 to 23 degrees Celsius using a dehumidifier in the summer to get rid of humidity is a measure you can take to prevent temperature-related illness if your child doesn't have air conditioning in their new home. For the winter months, switch it up and use a humidifier to add some moisture to the dry air. If you don't have a dehumidifier, leave a bowl of water over a heat source so the water can evaporate into the air.

2. Laundry tools of the trade
Dressing to impress is a major part of most teens' lifestyle, so when a favourite pair of jeans or beloved rock concert tee is stained or faded, they'll need to know the ins and outs of laundry. When it comes to extending the life of your laundry, remember to tell your kids to take the time to turn your darks, especially denims, inside out, as they will keep their dark colour longer. A liquid laundry detergent rather than powdered detergent will avoid leaving a white residue on dark clothing. Another tip from Going Solo is to soak white clothes in cold water overnight to brighten them without having to use bleach. And of course, don't put that red sock in with the whites.

Page 1 of 2 - Learn 5 more things you need to teach your kids before they go to university on page 2.
3. Beware the iron
The days of grabbing clothes from a laundry pile may be over for your university-bound teen, as job interviews and formal school events require them to (gasp!) iron their clothing. Since ironing incorrectly can cause damage to your clothing, Going Solo offers a few pieces of advice to avoid disaster. A big no-no is ironing stained clothing; the steam from the iron will actually set the stain, making it near impossible to remove. Also, if you're ironing an item made of rayon or wool (like a suit), iron with a dampened cloth between the fabric and the iron. This avoids leaving shiny areas on the fabric, a look you do not want when trying to snag that coveted co-op job.

4. Temporary fix for that drip, drip, drip
Studying for exams is stressful enough, but adding annoying distractions like a dripping faucet to the mix is enough to drive you crazy. A temporary fix in is to tie a string around the faucet head, so that the water soaks onto the string, then into the sink to avoid the dripping. If the problem continues, advise your kids to call their landlord to get a professional in.

5. Avoiding a clogged drain
If your teen is sharing a place with friends, especially if they have long hair, the shower drain is bound to get clogged. One way to avoid this is to get a strainer for the drain. It's an inexpensive way to avoid drain build-up and can be purchased from any hardware or dollar store.

6. Cooking with meat and poultry
The danger of raw meats is a very important lesson you have to teach your teens when they move out on their own. One piece of advice that you simply cannot tell them enough times is never to place cooked meat back on a tray that held it raw in the first place. All utensils that touched the raw meat should also be thoroughly washed before reuse. Your teen could risk food poisoning, E. coli or salmonella poisoning through ingestion of raw meat, so buying disinfectant spray for countertops is an easy and cheap way to get rid of the bacteria.

7. When in doubt, throw it out
This piece of advice applies to food, creams, sunscreens, make-up, medications and everything else with an expiry date. As tempting as it is to save money by using something past its prime, things expire for a reason, and the last thing you want is to get sick from expired food or a rash from a past-the-due-date face cream. So, when your products expire, or you're just not sure if they’re in their prime anymore, teach your teens to throw them out.

Read more:
Why go to university?
5 things university students want parents to relax about
How to survive university

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