Leaving home for college is both exciting and daunting. It signals the beginning of a new chapter in their lives, but it also means changes and challenges that can overwhelm your teen. As a parent, you’re most likely anxious about your child while feeling excited to see them pursue their goals and dreams.
Many parents and children worry about being away from each other for the first time, which is why your child still needs you…but in a different way. There will be changes in your relationship since college is a sign that your child is becoming closer to adulthood. In this stage of their lives, it is important to recognize change, to let your child make their own decisions, and to let them learn from their own mistakes.
Let them take charge but be ready to help
Your child has most likely been looking forward to this moment for a while now, and they might have thought of how to go about their move. Let them take charge of their plans. Let them present you their ideas, but be there to make suggestions like getting moving quotes and buying furniture.
The best way to help your child is to ask questions without any judgment. Don’t panic if their answer is not what you expect. If you disagree with their plan, let them know by politely offering an alternative without pushing it.
Help them adjust to their new life
College is going to be an entirely new experience for your child. While it is exciting, it can be scary and nerve-wracking. Let your child tell you how they feel about this whole transition and offer emotional support when needed.
If you think it will help them, suggest they keep a “moving journal” where they can write down and express their feelings. They can also use it to add some memories like pictures of the family, their friends, and the neighborhood.
Communication is key
It may sound cliche, but communication really is key, especially when you won’t have much time for it once your child’s classes start. Let your child know how proud and excited you are for them. They need to feel confident and be reassured that they are doing the right thing.
Don’t be afraid to tell them you’re going to miss them and want to set a schedule for calls and visits. Long-distance communication can start as a regular routine during the first few weeks, but be ready to give them their space as time progresses as they need to establish their own life as well.
Once your child leaves, give yourself time to adjust. Start focusing on yourself and your spouse. Treat yourself and your spouse to something nice. Go through hobbies and activities you want to do that you haven’t been able to get to while caring for your child. Travel, pick up a new hobby, go on dates, or continue something that you’ve put off.