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Moving away to college or university will likely be the longest stretch of time your teen has ever spent away from home, and taking a little time to prepare can help make the transition go as smoothly as possible. In your final few weeks of back-to-school shopping, packing, and enjoying what’s left of the summer holidays, take these 7 steps to prepare your teen for dorm life:

  1. Teach some laundry lessons. If you don’t happen to have a kid who loves doing his own laundry, plan to teach him how to sort colours, follow washing directions, and run the washer and dryer before he moves away to school. Remember to pack stain remover, detergent, and a roll of coins for the machines in his dorm.
  2. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. Bed bugs don’t discriminate, and once they’re let in, they can make themselves at home in even the cleanest of dorm rooms. Consider picking up a cover that zips around the entire mattress to protect your teen’s bed from unwanted pests. Many of these bug-proof mattress covers are hypoallergenic, waterproof, and keep dust mites away too.
  3. Pack for a good night’s sleep. Items like sound-reducing ear plugs and an eye mask can help your kid get some rest if his roommate is up cramming for a mid-term or playing video games all night.
  4. Remember to keep it clean. While they may not be on the top of your teen’s list of things to pack, basic cleaning supplies like a vacuum, a broom, glass cleaner, and dusting cloths can make that dorm room sparkle like new — even if they’re only put to use when you come to visit. Don’t forget these on move-in day.
  5. Plan for sick days. While many campuses have their own medical facilities, it’s a good idea to make sure your teen knows the address and phone number for his nearest off-campus walk-in clinic and 24-hour pharmacy. Keep a photocopy of his health card at home, and give him the physical card to keep in a safe place. Prepare a first-aid kit with bandages, disinfectant wipes, painkillers, and other medications he might need.
  6. Be emergency-ready. While moving away for the first time is exciting, it can also be overwhelming — and even if you’ve already planned some weekend visits, it’s a good idea to make sure your kid has what he needs if he has to come home unexpectedly. This could be as simple as setting up an emergency fund so he can book a last-minute plane or train ticket. Come up with a plan for emergency trips home before your kid gets settled in at school.
  7. Last but not least, review your insurance policy. Did you know that some home insurance policies are designed to protect kids who are living away from home while attending college or university? Before you pack up and get going, review your insurance policy or talk to your broker to find out if your coverage will extend to your kids — and if it won’t, consider getting them their own tenant insurance policy to make sure they’re protected while away at school.

Now that you’re almost ready to hit the road, take some steps to prepare your vehicle for a safe trip and talk to your broker to make sure your car insurance policy is up to date. Your broker can also find out if you’ll qualify for any discounts on car insurance when your teen no longer has access to your vehicle.


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