For college students, leaving home for the first time may be one of the most exciting times of their life; however, it's still a difficult and sometimes challenging change to make. As a parent, you're probably experiencing mixed emotions--proud to see your child move on to higher goals and sad to see them leave.
It's a good idea to be both supportive and encouraging. And at the same time, it's okay to let your child see your sadness and how much you'll miss them.
How To Help Your Child Leave for College
- Tell them how proud and excited you are for them. They need to know and feel confident that they're doing the right thing. You can help by telling them how right this decision is and by becoming their biggest supporter.
- Spend time helping them plan their move. Even if your child is moving into a dorm or other on-campus housing, there's still a lot to buy and pack. You can help by asking them what they need to do, what they'd like to take with them and how you can help. You can make suggestions on how to move their things and what they might need, but it's also important to take a step back and let them prepare for this change the way they need to.
- Make sure they know that their home will always be their home and that you'll always be there to support them. Your child will experience a range of emotions before leaving and in the first few weeks. Let them know that you're just a phone call away.
- If you're driving your child to campus, try to make sure that once he or she is moved in, that you leave them to settle in. Most colleges have activities and orientation plans scheduled so it's best to leave as soon as possible, allowing your child to be on their own.
- Pack a surprise "care kit." It could contain special items that you know your child will be without for a while: their favorite cookies, photos, a phone card, coins for laundry, something that says that you care and are rooting for them. It doesn't need to be much, just a little something from home.