Insider: 4 Things to Do Before You Drop Off Your Kid at College

Dropping your child off when they start college can be stressful for both of you. You’ll have to take care of moving and leave your kid on their own for weeks or months. Fortunately, you can help this process go smoothly by making sure you’re both prepared. Here are some things you should do before you drop off your kid at college.

1. Spend Some Time Together

During summer vacation, spend some quality time with your child. You can go on a family trip, check out a local museum, go hiking, see a movie, shop for dorm room decor or enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurant. That way, you’ll both have some fun memories to look back on when school starts, and you’ll have plenty of time to talk with your child and answer any questions they may have. You can also look forward to making some new memories with your kid during school breaks.

2. Get Good Car Insurance

Car insurance is required in every state. If your kid doesn’t have at least liability insurance, they could have to hay a hefty fine. They could also have to pay damages to another driver or a property owner after an accident. Being able to get to class is important, so you should also consider collision coverage to take care of repairs after an accident as soon as possible.

USAA gives discounts for students with good grades. There’s no fee for paying in installments, and they offer a defensive driving course as well as a course for new drivers. Members can save at many stores, and the organization has checking accounts, credit cards, CDs and many other banking services. This lets your kid deal with one company for many of their needs.

3. Teach Them About Finance

Before your child starts living on their own, make sure they know how to manage their finances. You should teach them how to create a budget, pay their own bills and keep track of the balance in their bank account. They should also know all of the terms and conditions that come with taking out student loans, including the future repayments required and the amount of time it should take to pay them.

Since their income should increase once they graduate, college students make ideal credit card customers for banks. Your child can take advantage of cash back, statement credits and many other incentives. However, they should avoid the temptation to get a bunch of new stuff and pay for it later. Tell them to pay as much of their balance as possible every month so that they can avoid interest charges.

4. Prepare for Emergencies

Pack a first aid kit with bandages, ibuprofen, cough medicine, disinfectant and other basics. Place a similar kit in their car along with a few snacks, some bottles of water, a flashlight, jumper cables and the tools needed to change a tire. Your kid should know how to check their oil, use a tire gauge and add air to their tires. You should get the phone numbers of any roommates as well as the resident advisor’s contact information. If your child doesn’t answer, you can get in touch with one of these people to see what’s going on.

These tips can help your child thrive at their new school, improve your peace of mind and keep their connection with you strong. Preparing for their first day at college will make things easier for both of you.