BY ANDREW STEWART
September signifies a lot of different things for different cultures such as Yom Kippur Katan (Hebrew calendar), Day of Remembrance (Islamic Calendar) and Labor Day (Canada, United States, Palau.) As parents, the most identifiable event in September is our children either start or go back to school. This year my daughter Ciara started junior kindergarten. There is something emotional about watching your child wave goodbye and walk away into school. As I watched other parents say goodbye and take pictures, I wondered if they had the same thoughts and feelings I had. Some mothers cried and fathers issued words of encouragement, but I remember thinking is she ready and have I done enough?
We stress about school readiness and if they are able to read or write, know colours or count. Readiness is really mostly about emotional and social maturity. Can they make an independent decision and follow through? Do they separate well from their caregiver? Do they show interest and interact with other kids? How do they deal with frustration?
It would seem even as adults we forget and still can struggle with these. There are many activities that parents can undertake with young children that have a positive effect and promote school readiness. Reading with your child. Teaching them songs and nursery rhymes. Taking them on excursions. Creating regular opportunities for them to play with their friends and other children.
A big worry that parents have is, what happens if my child has an accident and gets injured. Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance provided by IA Financial Group reimburses for expenses not covered by provincial or employer extended health or dental plans. It provides coverage for items such as: dental, eyeglasses and contact lenses, fracture, and dislocation, babysitting and many more.
As our children get older a main constant is education. The necessity it plays in society and our lives is enormous. Another constant are the expenses and outflow of money families will pay to give their children the best opportunities. When it comes to understanding and preparing financially for post-secondary education we are missing the mark. In a recent CIBC study; four out of five parents aren’t able to accurately estimate university tuition fees, with many also not understanding how RESPs work. Moreover, 37% of parents said they had no idea how much to budget for non-tuition expenses, such as books, supplies, groceries and accommodation. The cost of post-secondary education increased by 2.8% this year, rising at a slightly slower pace than what students saw in 2015.
Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that the average university undergraduate will pay $6,373 in tuition costs for this school year. That’s up from an average of $6,201 from the previous school year. Students in Newfoundland and Labrador paid the lowest average tuition in the country, at $2,759 this year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, students in Ontario pay the highest tuition, on average, at $8,114. Just as costs differ across the country, they also vary based on the field of study. The most expensive tuition in Canada this year is dentistry, with an average tuition bill of $21,012. After that comes medicine at $13,858, law at $11,385 and pharmacy at $9.738, on average, this year.
Tuition may not be the only check you need to write if you’re sending a kid off to school this fall. Adult children can generally stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until age twenty-six. Renters insurance; most kids leave home with a boatload of electronic gear, clothes and other stuff. If your child lives in an on-campus dorm, your homeowner’s insurance will usually provide coverage. Getting the right amount of car insurance starts with understanding what you need. Different people use their cars in totally different ways and their coverage should reflect that. Education never really stops, so I encourage you to reflect on your educational experiences and see how a prepared plan can improve your child’s educational journey.