Preparing your teenager for university or work

Preparing your teenager for university or work

Whether your child is leaving home or just starting a new job or course, here are some useful parenting tips to help you support their big move.

Your child’s letter of acceptance for a first job, a place at uni or an apprenticeship is very possibly your proudest moment since their first nursery concert. But that doesn’t stop you worrying! The good news is, there are many ways you can help them head off with confidence.

Words of wisdom

Don’t lecture your child. Instead, over time show them how to plan, budget and think ahead.

• Nurture their common sense every day and talk to them like an adult.
• Take opportunities to give them little life lessons – how to look for bargains when shopping for food, how to use their initiative, and how to always check they’ve been given the right change from a £20 note!
• Show your child how to talk to adults. Encourage them to make calls or use ticket offices on your behalf every now and then, so they get used to asking for what they want or need.


Budgeting is essential, especially when student loans and first job salaries usually keep funds tight.

• Get your teen to make a list of essential expenses then go through the list with them to check through what’s essential and what’s a luxury!
• Visit the Money Advice Service website for free tips on planning a budget (and specific pointers for starting college).
• Encourage your teen to keep tabs on what they’re spending – including a file for receipts, bills and bank statements. They should also divide up their money (income or loan) into what they need for essentials and spending money for going out etc, each month or week.
• Show your child how you manage your bills and how to check for deals with money-comparison websites.


Get your teen to work out what they need before they start work or college.

• Does their course or job require special clothes? Uniform, safety kit, or a few smart clothes for office work?
• Does their mobile contract cover their requirements if they no longer have use of mum and dad’s free wifi?
• Do they need a TV Licence? Find out what students will and won’t need when they leave home, at the TV Licensing website.
• What are their travel costs? Help your teen to plan the easiest but most cost-effective route to and from college or work.
• Get them to factor in lunch and coffee-break costs. Show them how much they’d save if they took a packed lunch every day.


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Student accommodation

For most of us, renting or paying a mortgage is our biggest monthly expenditure.

• Take a look at the students’ union website for the uni your child is going to. It will usually offer the best local advice on accommodation.
• Help them choose somewhere after balancing the cost of their rent and the cost of travel – if they live somewhere cheap but too far away from work or college it might actually be an expensive commute.
• Where relevant, don’t worry about confirming where they’re going to live in their second year too soon – they need to settle in and form good, reliable friendships first.

Making themselves at home

Some kids are great cooks at the age of 13; others don’t know how to boil an egg at 18! Set a good example yourself.

• Show your teen some easy, nutritious recipes and encourage them to cook a few meals for the family. Don’t forget our brilliant Supersavvyme recipes from other mums, too.
• Pass on shopping tips (how to spot genuine bargains at supermarkets, buying fresh goods as they’re needed so they don’t spoil, etc).
• Show them how you save money around the home – not wasting electricity, cooking bigger meals and freezing portions, etc. Check our Money saving tips for some useful pointers, too.

Staying healthy

While trying to keep up with their social life and work, teenagers often fail to look after themselves properly.

• Show them a few cheap and easy ways to keep up their fruit and veg intake. You’ll find some handy food tips in our article on the Best-odds family diet.
• You can’t ‘police’ your teen’s social life so just encourage the best possible habits where you can and find out if their workplace or college has cheap gym facilities they can take advantage of.
• Teenagers are all different and while they may already have some experience, most won’t have developed a full understanding of relationships yet. Encourage your teen to check student website advice (in language they’ll relate to).

Staying safe

Help your teenager prepare for life in a town or city they might not know so well.

• The NUS website has excellent advice about staying safe – useful for all teenagers, not just students.
• Remind your teen to be discreet with cash and put valuables out of sight, keeping a note of serial numbers and locking things away.
• Finally, remind your son or daughter that help is there if or when they need it – from you, but also from their company’s HR department (if they’re working or doing an apprenticeship) or their university faculty and students’ union.

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Daughter just started uni very helpful tips from here that I can support her with

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Son just started uni, info here helpful

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Great tips, I have one at uni and one about to go so this has helped us ...

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thanks some really useful information.

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Very helpful without realizing I have taught my daughter.a lot of these things but it was so helpful ticking off the ones I have done and realize the ones I have yet to do brilliant thank you

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