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By Kate Reggev
Rest easy by prepping them for good sleep, financial success, and more.
For many young people, going to college is one of the most important thresholds they cross as they make their way in the world. Whether you're staying on campus, commuting, or taking virtual classes from home, the experience can still be stressful. And those fears and concerns that students have—and those of their parents—are real.
One of the best tools for facing these anxieties is preparation: ensuring students are able to create healthy living habits, establish strong study routines, and understand how to be responsible about their finances. Curious how to allay your own concerns? Read on for five areas to encourage your college student to focus on that will help facilitate the emotional and physical environment necessary for them to thrive—with the help of a few key items from IKEA, like bedding and kitchen basics to the all-important alarm clock.
One major concern that parents (rightly!) have about their college-aged kids is that they’ll take advantage of newfound independence to create unhealthy habits: eating whatever they want, whenever they want; poorly managing their stress; and ignoring signs of illness. But this is where you’ll need to let go, and let them learn from their own mistakes.
Know that you’ve given them the tools and knowledge to course-correct their new routines: They know what a balanced meal looks like because of how they've eaten growing up (and you've equipped them with some essential items); they realize exercise can help mitigate mood swings; and they remember you’re only a quick phone call (or walk down the hall) away when they do get sick. To that end, if they are living on campus, double-check they know where the infirmary is and that they’re well-stocked with basics like throat lozenges, pain relievers, and a thermometer.
With the cost of college education constantly on the rise, you’ll want to clearly lay out any financial expectations you might have for them. Do they need to find a work-study job? Will you be providing a monthly or per-semester allowance for books, dining out, or other essentials? Will you remain a co-signer on a card or bank account so you can review the types of purchases they’re making? Set ground rules so nobody is surprised when the credit card statement comes in the mail.
Plenty of sleep is critical to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is prevalent in American adults, and it can have real impacts on alertness and health. Deep sleep, the sleep stage when your body and brain waves slow down, is important for memory retention, cell repair, a strong immune system, and even mood and outlook—critical elements to every college student’s daily life.
To help give your college kid a shot at getting enough sleep, make their bed an irresistible, comfy haven. You’ll want a comforter that balances warmth with washability, like IKEA’s SMÅSPORRE, which is designed so it can be washed frequently and at high temperatures—just in case your kids haven’t gotten down the whole separating darks and lights part of doing laundry. Pair it with a soft duvet cover and pillow cases in a fun pattern, like the blue and white of the TRÄDKRASSULA set, and you’ll rest easier, too.
Being organized and following a routine is half the battle to success, and sometimes it’s little reminders or accessories that encourage this kind of behavior. Supply them with plenty of notepads, pens, phone and laptop chargers, or whatever else they might need to stay on top of assignments and schedules.
Encourage your student to use a desk organizer to keep their supplies in one spot (and not all over their workspace). A pegboard above the desk allows them to make the space feel more personalized—they can display photos, mood boards, or reminders for assignments. We also love the RIGGAD table lamp because it also functions as a wireless charger, reducing the ever-growing need for more cables and wires.
Heavy sleepers might need a real alarm clock (this one wakes you up gently with both sound and light!) instead of just using their phone. You can also help them find the perfect planner or app to set reminders for class schedules or deadlines, and if you’re able to nudge it in, a weekly phone call or video chat—or you know, actual face time if you're under the same roof.