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 to deal with your emotions in a way that maintains a supportive outlook. And at the same time, it's okay to let your child see your sadness and how much you'll miss them.
If your child is leaving home for the first time, whether it's to attend college or to move for a new job or to move into their very own place, knowing that they won't be around is difficult. Use these tips to help them with this major life change.
Talk to Them
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. Make sure you also ask them what they need from you - how best you can help with this move and change. Some children want independence from you while others need more support and encouragement. Ask them before you impose too much or not enough.
Help 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 need 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 take charge and prepare for this change the way they need to.
Home Is Always There for Them
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 while they're settling in. Let them know that you're just a phone call away and that they're always welcome to come home if needed.
Give Them Their Space
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 better data plan, 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.
Set up a Schedule for Phone Calls
It'll make you both feel better if you determine a call schedule so that you're in touch regularly. It doesn't need to be weekly, but for the first few months while everyone is adjusting to the change, more often might be needed.
Make Plans for Visits
Create plans for the holidays so your child knows that it won't be long until their home again and, if your child is moving far away, you can also make plans to visit. Just remember to give them the space they need to establish their own lives.