Tips For Parents After Sending Kids To College
By: Alice Murray
It seems like only yesterday when you were dropping your kids off on their first day of elementary school. Now, they’re high school graduates on their way to college, eager to experience a whole new life.
While going to college is the most exciting time in your kids’ lives, it’s a bittersweet time for you as a parent. You’re so proud that they made it, but you’re also sad that you have to say goodbye.
Most parents will agree that coming home to your kid’s empty room after they’ve moved out is the worst part. But once you’ve cried some tears and tidied up the last of their mess, you should be thinking about how you can celebrate. Your child succeeded in getting into college and they’ve started living independently for the first time. This means you can sit back, relax and start indulging in some self-care—maybe for the first time in 18 years!
We get that sending kids to college is an emotional time, but these tidbits of advice for parents of college freshmen can help.
Keeping In Touch
Whether your child has moved to the next state or to the opposite coastline, you’ll want to stay in touch with them regularly. Keeping up to date with how they’re doing at college, their extra-curricular activities, their grades, and their general day-to-day life will give you peace of mind and help you in supporting them over the next four or more years.
It might be that you have other children too, who will want to speak to their brother or sister every now and then. So, what are the most effective ways to keep in touch?
Other than the obvious ways like calling and texting, there are a few things you can try as a family that might be easier, particularly if there’s a time difference between you now.
Using social media messaging will allow you to create your own family social network with a group chat, where you can all send and view videos, photos and texts. It’s also more immediate than a text message, as you can see who is online at what time.
Video calling is another great way to catch up and see each other at the same time. Why not try and schedule a weekly or bi-weekly Skype or Facetime call with your son or daughter? That way, you’re respecting their private life and college schedule, but you’re not constantly missing each other or having a relationship with an answering machine.
For something a little more personal or special, you can mail them a care package with all the small, homey touches that they’re likely to be missing out on. For instance, you can put together a box with toiletries, candles, their favorite snacks, comfort food packets, and flu medicines. This is something your child will really appreciate, particularly if they started the semester feeling a little out of place or homesick.
Gift Ideas For College Students
What can you do if you want to treat your graduate to something special to celebrate their huge achievement?
Our gift ideas for college students will help you to give them a great send-off. Whether it’s a family heirloom that they can keep in their dorm or apartment to remind them of home, a set of handy digital gifts, or something practical to help them settle into college life, a goodbye present will never be wasted.
You could give them a comforter for their dorm room, or offer to buy their first set of textbooks. Or perhaps you could get them some sports equipment to keep fit, or a new laptop to use for college work. Whatever you’ve got in mind, something that will be truly valued is a memory keepsake, such as a smart digital photo frame.
With a digital frame, you can share, send and display family photos or videos to your son or daughter at college. This is a priceless way to stay in touch and be a part of one another’s lives, even when you’re in different places.
How To Support Your Child At College
Supporting and encouraging your child from afar sounds difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Even when you’re not around, you can point them in the direction of other adults who can support them such as college lecturers, guidance counselors, or upperclassmen.
But sometimes, the best way to lend a helping hand after sending a child to college is to simply leave them to it. If you trust them to find their own feet, they’re more likely to come to you if anything does ever go wrong. University freshmen need time and experience to learn how to be college students and adjust to their new surroundings. College is all about new experiences, finding out who you are and becoming an adult, so being patient and understanding is the best way to ensure that they do this in their own way.
How To Spend Your Free Time
Now, what are you supposed to do while your kid forges his or her own path in the world?
Sending a child to college doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. On the bright side, you’ve now got an abundance of free time, which you can use to pick up a new hobby or spend quality time with friends.
During your child’s senior year at high school, you likely spent a lot of time attending university open days, helping them with applications, supporting them through their SAT prep and finals, and everything else that comes with the big college move. So, if you have other children, now is a great time to give them some extra attention—before they disappear for college too!
You can focus on having more ‘me’ time, such as taking a nap in the middle of the day for no reason or treating yourself to a shopping spree. New interests can also fill the void—it’s never too late to pick up a new skill, so enroll in lessons and learn a new craft!
There is no way to know how long it will take for any parent to adjust after sending kids to college, but by keeping busy, being there for them when they need it, and focusing on yourself, you’re doing yourself and your college student a big favor. To make the distance a little easier, Nixplay digital photo frames are the perfect way to display family photos and share memories no matter where you are. And don’t worry—they’ll soon be back for Thanksgiving so you can dote on them once more!