Advice for parents about the career options for their children

What can you do to help?

BackpackerMake it clear to them how much if any funding you are going to offer to support them on their gap year and what is expected of them in return. For example, you could match every pound they earn, or not charge them rent so everything they earn can go towards their trip.

Though you will want to have a say in their choice of gap year, it is important to let them make the decision for themselves. They should research the pros and cons and make a final choice based on what they want to do not what you think they should do or the 'safest' option.

Although it can be a daunting time for you as parents worrying about your child's safety, it is important to remember that they are adults and probably already know far more about life than you think they do. If you equip them with the basic skills they will need - budgeting advice, food hygiene skills (if going to a third world country) and safety tips - you then just have to let go and trust them. Before they go, make a plan to keep in touch. Do not expect constant telephone calls and emails but do get their agreement they will, for example, call once a week just to put your mind at rest.

And when they return they will not be under your feet for very long before you are packing them off again, this time to university.