With my oldest heading off to college this fall, I’ve found myself in a sort of panic mode, mostly because I’m not sure if she knows everything she needs to know before she leaves. You worry so much about them eating their vegetables and getting enough sleep, but then you forget to teach them how to make their own doctor’s appointments. I blame time! It’s really not very nice, is it?

Thankfully, we have seasoned moms on our team to help guide us neophytes along the way, not to mention some fantastic podcast guests who have shared their infinite wisdom and bestselling books.

With that in mind, here are 10 things you will probably want to make sure your kids know before they leave the roost. And to be clear: Every kid is different. Duh, I know, obvious statement but some of your younger teens may already know all these things and some of you may have 20-somethings who need help with this stuff. – Kristen 

1. How to make doctor appointments…but more importantly knowing how to advocate for yourself at that doctor appointment. Start teaching this skill a few months before they are out on their own, and the best way is to go with them but tell them beforehand that you will not be doing any talking unless they need you to step in. Help them understand that doctors and nurses are doing a job and sometimes don’t have the time or patience to dig deeper as they should. So, if you don’t feel good about the answers they are giving you, you can ask for more.

2. And dentist appointments. Twice a year. They just gotta do it.

3. How to get their prescriptions refilled. Kids need to know how to order them and when to order them (like not the day you’re running out of them). And, make sure they know how to identify if the pharmacy switches to a generic or a drug that they haven’t been taking (like how to read those labels). It’s important for them to know their medicine and read labels.

4. How and when to use urgent care vs emergency room. In case of an emergency, do your kids know who to call? (Other than Ghostbusters… sorry just had to). There are lots of great emergency tips here.

5. How a credit card works. A good way to start your kids out with a credit card can be to add them as a user on your own so you can keep an eye on it. Once you feel as though they understand when it’s appropriate to use one, and how to pay it off at the end of the month, you can work with them to upgrade. A lot of parents recommend Discover as a good starting point.

10 things kids need to know before leaving for college | Cool Mom Picks

Read More: How to be an adult, with Julie Lythcott-Haims

6. How to use a laundromat. Assuming they can do their own laundry, taking them on a quick tour of a laundromat if they’re not familiar isn’t a bad idea.

7. How to read prices and save money in the grocery store. If your kids aren’t familiar with grocery shopping and following some sort of budget while doing so, now’s the time. Sure, if they’re going away to a four-year school, they may have a meal plan, but it’s still good for them to understand how far (or not far, really) money goes.

8. The importance of sleep (and self-care overall). Yes, college is the land of all-nighters, but kids need to understand the toll lack of sleep can take on them, not to mention the need to stay hydrated and fuel their bodies with food (and not Monster drinks). Typically, talking about all of this from a health and wellness standpoint, with supporting data, can be very convincing to skeptical teens.

9. What if situations. It’s a good idea to come up with a few scenarios to see what your kids might do, then help direct them to what the best choice would be. Stuff like… “What happens if you get into a car accident?” is a good example.

10. It’s okay to ask for help. Be clear with your kids that if they need help, you are there for them. No matter what time of night. No matter the situation. You are not going to judge them. Their safety and well-being is most important. This is for their own mental health, but also, their physical safety as well. If they’re not comfortable talking to you, make sure to establish safe places for them to go to or call.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. But it’s definitely a good start. Anything you want to add? Drop it in the comments.

Photo by Smart on Unsplash