Parent’s Guide to Sending Your Child Off to College

By Sarah Wylde

“Parenthood has two big transitions when our children arrive and when they leave.”

It is that time of year again…back to school. That includes all the students either returning or going for the first time to university or college. With that in mind, this month, I will be focusing on the various topics to help with the transition of going back to school at whatever level it may be. When I was going to college and later university, I wish that I had more information for myself but also my parents. At the time, I didn’t realize how much of this is a big adjustment for them as well. So, this next post is for the parents.

You knew this was coming, but all the focus and energy have been on your high school graduate and how they will adapt to their next step in education. But guess what? You are going through this transition. If they are going away to school, then you are about to have an empty nest. If they are staying home, the usual routine is going to change drastically as well. Either way, remember parents, your emotions, and how this change is going to affect you is valid. There are a few things that you can do before dropping them off to help the transition.

  • Being open and talking before they go about how you are feeling while reassuring them that you are there and support them.
  • Go over domestic chores. I know that sounds silly but depending on where they are living and what amenities they have, this helps. Giving them tips on laundry, cooking, and budgeting is not only teaching your child but gives you the confidence that you have prepared them.
  • If the school they are going to is a bit of a distance, before the move date spend some time together, take a day trip or a more extended trip together.
  • So, the day is here, and you are at the university/college dropping them off. It is both a happy and emotional day. With all the advances in technology, it makes it 100% easier to stay in touch with each other. Schedule weekly calls, FaceTime, or Skype, dates to stay connected and catch up about both of your weeks. Keeping in contact like that also helps with any homesickness or empty nest sadness that will occur.

When I asked my mom, what was hardest for her, she said it was when she had to drive away and leave me there and then again when she came home and saw my room. What she did was bring her sister with her when dropping me off so that she wasn’t driving back alone. They talked about other things and made a few stops to look at stores as a way to make the trip back less sad and more uplifting. When I wasn’t there using my room, it became the room guests could stay in; she would read or watch a movie in there occasionally as well. This way, it was still being used and not left empty as a reminder.

I hope these few tips help in the upcoming school year.

Until next time, happy studying!

Sarah Wylde