LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Emotionally preparing kids for college.

It’s now the final stretch for thousands of high school seniors on if college is the next step, and according to researchers, there’s too much focus put on the academic side of things. Many parents forget that the transition to college can be hard on a teenager’s mental health as well, facing new challenges like living away from home and being away from a support system, making new friends, and following a different routine.

Lindsay Macchia, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute says without preparing your teenager emotionally for this next step, many end up feeling depressed, developing anxiety, or getting what is called emotional dysregulation. So, here are some ways to help prepare your kids for college, emotionally:

*Don’t try to ‘fix’ every problem. The goal now is to validate their feelings, not solve their problems.

*Practice mindfulness with your teen. Ultimately, that means learning to live in the present moment without judging your thoughts and emotions.

*Help your child establish good self-care. This involves teaching your child how to take care of their body, with good sleep, hygiene, and eating habits.

*Work on planning ahead. That’s teaching them how to think ahead to remove any stress.

*Develop strategies for self-soothing. This can be something they love to do, like listening to music or working out.

Experts say, being mentally ready for college is just as important as getting good grades – so that your kids are not overwhelmed their first year on campus