Parents of College Students: Help Your Child Feel at Home

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Parents of college students, girl holding binder

Seniors in high school are often busting at the seams to spread their wings and fly. Parents of college students may notice how quickly homesickness sets in, once their son or daughter moves onto campus. Especially if it’s your child’s freshman year, college life can take a lot of getting used to. You can help your child feel less homesick by sending bits of home to his or her dorm.

Parents of college students can send care packages

Who doesn’t love to get mail? Having a package delivered on campus can brighten your son’s or daughter’s day. Many schools work with care-package companies. You can order gift boxes that are then delivered to your child at various times during the school year. Such gifts typically arrive during holiday seasons or finals week, etc. Parents of college students can make their own gift packs, comprised of a child’s favorite healthy snacks or seasonal items to decorate a dorm room. (I.e. Strands of autumn leaves and tiny pumpkins for fall or hearts and shamrocks for Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day.)

Keep your family traditions

It can be sad for a college student to miss out on his or her favorite family traditions back home. Parents of college students can help their kids still feel included by sending special items to  school. For instance, in our family, we make homemade cards and gift bags every year for Valentine’s day. We surprised my daughter and her roommate by making them bags and filling them with cards and treats. They were delighted when their box arrived and our daughter was so happy that she was still included in our family tradition.

Silly toys can break up the monotony of studying

While college life is indeed the beginning of adulthood, students can grow weary and feel stressed from a rigorous academic schedule. Especially during finals week, it can help them feel loved and appreciated back home if you send a few silly toys or games to help them de-stress and have a little fun. Include items they loved as children, such as fidget spinners, a slinky, slime, stress balls, a blow-up beach ball or bubbles.

Parents of college students can enjoy virtual visits

Advanced technology makes it easy to stay in close contact with our children when they are away at school. Sending an early morning text with a heart emoji lets a college student know that those at home are still thinking of him or her. When someone in our family has a birthday or we celebrate another special occasion, we often take a live video. Being able to watch a younger sibling blow out candles on a birthday cake or see an aunt, uncle or cousin reminds a college student that home isn’t so far away.

Sharing the faith while your son or daughter is away

If your family has a regular time for prayer and devotion, you can use Skype or other programs to include your child at school. We keep a bowl on our counter during the Lenten season. On the fridge is a list of people and causes and special intentions. Each day, we pull a slip of paper, which has a number on it. We look for that number on the list and make that person or intention our focus for the day. So that my daughter can take part while she’s at college, I pull a slip of paper for her each morning and text the intention she is to pray for that day. Praying together as a family is still possible and can help college students overcome feelings of homesickness.

Food from home is a quick cure for what ails them

One of the best deals we snagged when shopping for college supplies was an indoor, George Foreman grill. (Make sure your child’s college allows this in a dorm.) When my daughter comes home on break, I spend a day or two cooking some of her favorite meals, including things like hamburger patties. We freeze everything in baggies so she can fit several meals in her tiny, dormitory freezer. I usually bag enough for two to four people so my daughter can feed her friends, as well. It gives me great joy when I get a midnight text, saying she and her friends are cooking burgers or microwaving one of the meals I made.

We can help our kids achieve their college goals by giving them feel constant love and support from home.


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