Top 10 Tips for Parents of College Students
By Katie Santa-Maria
1. Put Down The Phone: It’s hard to adjust to being apart from your child, but trying to communicate with them at all hours of the day will only push them away. They are busy. Setting aside a specific time each week to talk is a good idea and won’t overwhelm them.
2. Don’t Drop By Unannounced: The last thing you want is to surprise your child at school only to have it be the busiest weekend of the semester, and to walk into a room full of garbage and empty alcohol bottles. Instead, simply give them a heads up so they can clean up, and plan ahead to ensure they get some quality time with you.
3. Send Care Packages: What college student doesn’t love receiving free food and goodies in the mail? Aim to send care packages once a semester and for every holiday. Get creative!
4. Meet Their College Friends: Getting to know the people your child is spending time with at school is a great way to help parents feel more at ease about them being on their own. These new friends will quickly become your child’s second family. Meet them when you visit. Take them to dinner.
5. Trust Them With Their Academics: This isn’t high school anymore — the days of phone calls from teachers reporting on grades are long gone. You need to accept this. Trust that your child can manage on their own without their parents constantly checking up on their schoolwork.
6. Discuss Finances Before You Drop Them Off: College students will find a way to spend every penny in their bank account. Come up with an allowance beforehand and stick to it.
7. Plan Trips Home In Advance: Especially if your child is a plane ride away. Most colleges have similar breaks, so book tickets early to avoid being forced to spend $600 in order to get them home for Thanksgiving.
8. Subscribe Them To Your Town’s Newspaper: Leaving your child with a connection to their hometown is a great way to ease the transition to a new and unfamiliar setting.
9. Book Hotels For Visiting Weekends EARLY: You would be shocked at how early the hotels near the campus book up. Don’t be the parents that have to stay over an hour away from the school on parents weekend — be on top of this.
10. Take a Deep Breath: Try your best not to worry yourself to death — you have given your child everything they need to have a successful college experience. Trust that you have raised them right.
Katie Santa-Maria is a Junior at Elon University and a summer intern at Brain, Child.