Dorm Shopping List
Staying in Touch
So your child is finally
ready to go off to college and you feel that you still have so
much more you want to do with them, and so much more you want to
say to them.
I'm Not Ready! - My Child's Not
You feel like your life is entering a new phase and you're not
ready. Well the reality is that YOU feel that
you're not ready - not because you really aren't - after
all you've been thinking about this day since your little one
was born. You're not ready because it's not you
that's leaving. You're staying behind and your child is
going. In some strange way - you almost feel like
they're leaving you.
Psychologically the person that stays behind begins to
After you finally get over your feelings of abandonment, your
parental instincts take over and all of the sudden you feel - Oh
my gosh! - I need to prepare my child for the outside world!
Help Yourself So You Can Help Your
From my experience, all this is fairly normal among parents everywhere,
should be no embarrassment of feeling like this. To help
your child prepare to leave the household and experience the
world on their own, requires you to first prepare yourself.
If you aren't resolved to this milestone you wont be able to
help your child.
With Your Child
You might find it difficult to find time to spend together since
your child is dealing with their own feelings of leaving home.
After all this is your child's last everything... Last summer to
spend with their old friend, last weekend, last tie they go to
the movies at that shopping center, last who knows what -
Tuesday?? - everything becomes the last. Your child is
trying to not only savor, but capture the memory, the taste, the
smell of every activity so that it will be burned in their minds
Don't wait until the week before your child leaves
for school to spend time with them. Months
ahead are best, and anything after that is great. Look for
reasons to go shopping together, dine together, walk, run or
play together - whatever your child is willing to commit to
(though don't be surprised if it's not that much). With
this valuable time that you now have together - listen to your
child. Listen for anxiety, listen to them recount some
events of their childhood and their memories of home. The
listening actually will prepare you for their ultimate
departure. Don't lecture. Trust what you have taught
your child in the seventeen or so years will be much more
effective than what you can tell them at the mall in forty
Go home and reflect on the events of your time together.
Remember what your child told you. Think about how good it
felt to spend some time together. Now do it again,
and arrange some more time to spend together with you child.
This cycle will not help you with obtaining new memories of your
child as an adult - but get you you moving in the right direction.
Now, you can help your child because you'll be thinking clearly.
What To Do For
Your Child's Move In Day
Move in day is a day
fraught with excitement, hesitation, confusion and well... total
anarchy physically, and emotionally. You can take the edge
off this highly volatile day by doing something nice for your
child. Pack a special box of goodies to surprise them when
you get to the college.
You can if you want decorate the box, and then slip in a few
goofy things that you child can sort thorough later or possibly
when they are settled in and you're still there. Some
items you may want to drop in that box might be a goofy t-shirt
or cap, candy that you know they like but might be hard to find,
or even toys like a Nerf gun, or an assortment of balls like a
football, baseball or tennis balls.
Whatever you decide - something like this is sure to take the
edge off of the day and will be remembered and appreciated for a
long time to come.
No Good-Byes on Drop-Off Day
For about four to six
hours, drop-off day is total confusion. From the time you
arrive, to the time you leave, the day is filled with the
bustling of every college-bound student virtually moving in at
once. Don't save your good-byes for the last minute.
Instead of waiting for the last minute tears and hugs, have them
at home before you leave - even though you may all be going to
the school together. The privacy you get at home is much
more appreciated and heartfelt.
Additionally, consider that you child may now be surrounded with
new people and friends and they may be less comfortable
exhibiting these emotions at school.
When you leave, do have the good-byes - but you'll see...most of
it will be out of your system and your child may not necessarily
have to endure all your wailing in public.
Send a Hug
So it may now be a long time since your child left for college.
Wow! Has it been two weeks already? Send them a hug
to remind them that they are missed. There are lots of
ways to send something like a College Care Package which can be
packed with goodies like brownies and cookies. Or, you can
send flowers, a stuffed animal, and include some brownies and
Whatever you decide, it will be appreciated and more than
likely, shared with their new-found friends. You'll find
that these little surprises not only relieve your stress and
anxiety - but will bring a little joy into your child's life as
they begin to settle in to a new scholastic life.
Guess what, your child
has grown into a college student and you still feel like you
should lecture them. Well, guess again, lecturing time is
over and your child sits through enough lectures in college.
At this stage in your child's life you need to become more of
a mentor and a coach.
Your child appreciates someone who will listen to them about
their life at school rather than lecture to them about what they
should be doing. That doesn't mean that you can't state
what you want - you just need to keep in mind that with your
child achieving a certain age, they are less restricted in their
thinking, and so they may have quite possibly already formed an
opinion - or a different opinion from yours.
We as parents somehow can never let go of the past, but the
present is so much more important. Without careful
thought, today's present can become the past before we realize
it, and if we don't make the most of it now, we will surely
regret it in the future.
Your child is torn in so many different direction when they get
to college that a lot of them really don't know which way is up.
Keep your child grounded and involved in what's going on at home
without invading their time. The rabbit at home had
babies!! - Let them know. Aunt Theresa got rabies!! - Let
them know. In this day and age of electronic
communication, a quick, simple and short email will suffice to communicate
Surely though, don't wait for a response - but don't be
surprised when they do only because it may be something that
actually interested them. Your child is at school, and
sometimes the distance takes them out of the loop, but it
shouldn't. Communicating little events like those
described above keeps your child from feeling like a stranger
when they come home for the weekend or holidays, and helps reunite the family again
without skipping a beat.
Home For The
So, your child is home for the holidays and you have a list of
stuff for them to do that is a mile long. Not so quickly.
Your child has just dealt with the everyday stress of things
like actually trying to get up on time, dealing
with deadlines, term papers, midterms and on, and on. Do
you think they're ready to assimilate themselves back into their
old routines, or do you think that they just want to crash and
have a few non-microwave meals? - I guess by now you may
Sure it's nice for them to be home, but chances are, things may
not actually be the same as before they left. Your child
may want to re-connect with some old friends, or visit some of
their old hang out spots. Provided that none of the things
they want to do was originally not in their best interest before
they left - help them. Help them stay in touch with old
friends. Help them sleep off a semester of work. Help them
rejuvenate themselves and then, send them back happy and well
rested - because they have another semester of all night video
games they need to stay up for. They have all the same pressures of college life waiting for them
that they left behind, and they have
the world waiting to be conquered by them - when they are ready.
Home For The
Unlike coming home for
the holidays, where it may just be a few days or a week,
when your college student comes home for the summer you might
have certain expectations and so, you need to have a
conversation about your expectations.
The best time to start the conversation would be right
before they leave for college, and then anytime after that is
just as good.
Whether you want to child to work to gain experience, or you
simply want them to earn a few dollars that they can use for
themselves, summer vacations are a great opportunity for any
college student to begin reaching further.
Talk with your child early on, and get them involved in laying
out a summer game plan early. With this conversation
behind you, now both of you can work towards trying to achieve
what was discussed and agreed, rather than spending all summer
arguing about it.