Saying goodbye to your children as they make their way to college is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do as a parent. The moment signifies that your children are growing up and transforming into young adults ready to live independent lives in front of your eyes. You know attending college is wonderful for them, but how can you cope?
Take a Campus Tour
Colleges typically have campus tours and orientation days to welcome new students and families. Attending these events can help you accept what your child’s new life at college will be like. You’ll also feel more confident meeting the professors, advisors, and support staff who will care for your child in your absence. You’ll also have time to ask questions about academics and campus safety that can help set your mind at ease.
Talk to Other Parents in Your Position
Take time to connect with other parents in your position. Perhaps some of your friends or work colleagues are preparing to send their own children to college. Alternatively, reach out to the parents of your child’s high school friends. Share your experiences and feelings over a meal or a few drinks. Simply knowing you’re not alone can be a great help.
Make a Plan for Staying in Touch
Making a plan for staying in touch with your child before college starts will benefit you both. Do you want a regularly planned time for communication, or would you prefer more spontaneity? How often do you expect you’ll stay in touch and what methods would you prefer? Phone and Skype calls are great for long chats, while text messaging and email can help you touch base in between longer communication. Let your child lead the discussion to ensure you’re not going to be intrusive. This is essential as you transition into a more adult relationship.
Help Your Child Pack
When you help your child pack, you can feel confident that important things aren’t left behind. Your child can easily overlook practical possessions like laundry baskets, extension cords, power strips, and clothing that’s appropriate for the entire season ahead. If your child doesn’t already have one, contact the college for a list of items students are expected to bring. Check the items off the list to ensure nothing important is forgotten.
Prepare to Focus on Yourself
You’ll have more time for yourself when your child goes to college. You might wonder how you’ll ever fill it. Think back to your life beyond your child. What did it look like? Can you recapture it?
Make plans to rediscover the passions that got put on hold when your child came along. Reconnecting with your life before your child can be much more satisfying than trying to fill the gaps with brand new interests. Book tickets for a concert or vacation. Enroll in a class in something you’ve always enjoyed. Having something to look forward to once your child leaves for college can help you approach this time with excitement, rather than sadness.
Sending your children to college isn’t easy for many parents, but with the right strategies in place, you can embrace the change and even enjoy it!