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Posts Tagged ‘College Student’

 

I remember the nurse placing a screaming dark-haired baby in my arms like it was yesterday. 18 years later, this baby is graduating from high school and telling me she wants to change her address to one different from mine.  While I appreciate her goals and ambitions, watching her go is tough.  Preparing now with a few simple things I am hoping will make this big transition smoother for both of us as she heads to college on her own.

Prepare and You Will Not Fear

I remember being taught this principle in relation to natural disasters when I was young, this same mantra is bringing me some comfort as a mother as I prepare to send a child into the world.  There is a long list of independent living skills youth and young adults need to be successful on their own; more skills than can be taught in the summer between their senior year and heading out on their own.  Starting young with developing and teaching life skills can bring peace and confidence with parents and youth as they move on.  Giving young children and teens responsibilities at home, allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them will prepare them for obstacles and responsibilities they will face when they leave home.  These needed life skills include not only skills such as cooking and laundry but budgeting, relationship skills, emotional and behavioral control, manners, self-care, time management and more.

Am I invited too?

My daughter, who is leaving, sat at the table listening one night as my sister and I discussed future Thanksgiving plans.  When we were finished she asked, “Am I invited too?”  It never occurred to me that she might be having some questions about where she would fit in when she left home.  We talked about what our communication would look like, how often, ways we would stay in contact and what family events she might want to be included in.  I let her know she would be welcome in our home anytime, without an appointment or reason. 

Plans do not always work out.  Let your young adult know that they are welcome in your home and what your requirements might be after they move away and return to visit. Help your child know that while you are excited about their new adventure you are always there if they just need to chat. Communication can be vital during this transition, for both of you.   Do not assume they know they can phone you if they feel sad or need to talk. 

Have a Plan

Have a plan for if things go wrong too.  A clear plan for contingencies can help parents make a decision when emotions are running high or a quick decision is necessary. Have you discussed what will happen if your college student makes poor grades? What if they are homesick and want to return home? What if they want or need to change schools or apartments? What if they are unable to cover expenses and call to ask for money?  Having these discussions before hand can clear up confusion for you and your child. 

Take Care of You

Feelings of loneliness, loss, and grief may all be common when a child leaves home. Have a plan to deal with those feelings.  As I have discussed this transition with friends their advice and reactions have ranged anywhere from excitement to being seriously distraught over their son or daughter moving out.  There is no right or wrong way to feel.  Try to let your feelings run their course. If you feel like crying, cry. It is important to acknowledge how you feel and not allow others to dictate your emotions.  You will not react the same way your friend did to their child moving out and that is ok. 

Every family is different and will have different plans and responses to a big change such as a child leaving home.  Try to remember what a fun new adventure this can be for your son or daughter.  Your enthusiasm can go a long way to helping them move on.  Celebrate their successes and yours, and remember just like with anything else new in life- it takes time!

Good luck! I am in this one with you. . . 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-in-between/201406/5-steps-help-your-teen-leave-the-nest https://www.healthguidance.org/entry/18004/1/how-to-cope-when-your-children-leave-home.html

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

 

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Freshman15

Frequently, college students may not select or purchase the most healthful options while at school. With the major shift in environment and academics, students can put the focus of nutritious eating on the back burner. As a result, several college students tend to gain weight.

Many factors can explain why students may not eat healthfully, including a lack of nutrition and diet education, social pressure, taste, and a lack of exposure prior to coming to college. Students may go for the most appealing, accessible, and easy options which can frequently include energy-dense, nutrient-poor, high-sodium, and high-fat products.

Let’s set the scenario: you are an incoming freshman with an unlimited meal plan. Back home you may have been used to eating home-cooked meals or what your parents provided you, but perhaps for the first time in your life you make all of the selections of what you eat every day. As many dining hall operate, you can basically treat each meal as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The choices are endless and calories never cross your mind. Breakfast could be a healthy choice such as fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt with almonds or it could be bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, hash browns, and toast. Which would you choose?

If you were any of the new college students around the country (that are not exactly focused on health), you may have chosen the latter. It’s often hard to keep nutrition and portion sizes in mind when there is such a selection in front of you. What students may not realize at the moment is that making these food choices into their usual dietary behaviors can become an unhealthy habit over time. These poor dietary habits can persist through adulthood, affecting their and their family’s health. Not only do poor dietary choices tend to carry over into adulthood when established at a young age, but they can also affect academic performance in college students. Many studies have found this to be true, noting the extreme importance of a healthy balanced diet while in school.
Social marketing and nutrition advertising in the dining halls have become emerging strategies in influencing students’ dietary choices. These tools can be used to increase awareness and motivate students to select healthier food choices. But, beyond these techniques what can we as parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and other adult role models do to encourage these young adults to prevent poor eating habits and weight gain. We all know how difficult it can be to lose the weight once it is gained, so prevention is key.

Talking with your young adult and encouraging some good habits early may lead to healthier choices. Some of these include:

• Encouraging calorie free beverages. Many teens and young adults do not realize the number of calories they are consuming simply from their drinks. Encourage water, unsweetened tea, sugar-free sodas, low-fat dairy, or other calorie-free beverages. This simple change can make a huge difference.

• Talk about ways to increase fruits and vegetables in one’s diet. Snacks can be great ways to incorporate more of these daily. Teens and young adults often tend to love dips. Encourage low fat or low calorie dips with fruits and vegetables as a healthy way to snack. www.choosemyplate.org is a fantastic site that offers a plethora of tips on healthy eating as well as a SuperTracker that can help students plan, analyze, and track their diet and physical activity with personalized goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling!

• Be physically active. This can be easier for young teens and adults on a college campus due to the amount of walking between buildings. Often times the college has a great facility for physical activities to be tried and sustained. Encourage the use of these facilities and ask your teen or young adult about this.

• Finally, talk to your teen or young student about portion sizes. College can be a great social experience and time to try new and different foods. Talk to them enjoying new tastes, but doing so in moderation.

We can all do our part in encouraging healthy behaviors and preventing weight gain. Helping our young adults do that can make a difference in the present and future.

Authors: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic intern/student, Bowling Green State University

Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Peterson S, Duncan DP, Null DB, Roth SL, Gill L. Positive changes in perceptions and selections of healthful foods by college students after a short-term point-of-selection intervention at a dining hall. Journal of American College Health. 2010;58:425-431.

Wald A, Muennig PA, O’Connell KA, Garber CE. Associations between healthy lifestyle behaviors and academic performance in U.S. undergraduates: A secondary analysis of the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2014;28:298-305.

www.choosemyplate.org

Photo credit: kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/college/freshman_15.html

 

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