To the parents and champions sending their students off to college, we see you. We see you holding back a tear while you unbuckle your seatbelt right before arriving to campus or while you’re crossing off the calendar days until *MOVE IN DAY* with a sharpie. You’ve been mentally preparing for this moment since you dropped them off at kindergarten, with likely a similar feeling to the one you’re feeling right now.
First, we want to remind you of something important: you crushed the champion role by supporting them through their college journey, and their excitement for their future is a result of celebrating the milestones you’ve accomplished together during childhood. Secondly, you’re not alone, and you’ll remember just how awesome it was to have the house to yourself for a little while. Keep in mind, they’ll be back for loads of laundry, 3-day weekends, and holidays to keep you entertained.
Do yourself a favor by grabbing a glass of your favorite Moscato and some cheese and sink into a few tips to ease your transition when your student is leaving the nest for college.
Keep Your Student Excited
We know that sending your student to college may be miles, states, or time zones away. This looks different for everyone, and emotions may run on fear, anxiety, joy and excitement all in the same moment. Your student has worked 12+ years to journey through higher education and are likely completely stoked for the opportunity to make you proud! Do your very best to host a positive energy regarding the transition and offer some words of affirmation to your student as they prepare for the big move. Crushing their vibe right before they head into college may result in discouragement and could ultimately affect their experience. So, stay the course, keep telling them how proud you are, and clap for them as they enter some awesome years ahead. You’re likely feeling more antsy about the matter than they are.
Space is CRUCIAL. Try your best to NOT be a helicopter parent!
If you take anything from this article, it’s to make a conscious effort to allow your student to breathe while they’re away. Naturally, they’ll find themselves calling you to update you about their latest test, how cool all their dining options are, and what student organizations they’re thinking of joining. As we know, distance makes the heart grow fonder – so missing each other is a crucial step in growing up for them.
They may be spending more quality time with their friends, visiting places they’ll miss the most while spending money right before heading off to school. Do yourself and mental health some justice by doing your best to not take this so personally. They’re using this time to flex to their friends how excited they are and planning visits to come hang out in your living room while they’re in town. Naturally, they won’t feel obligated to tell you about their fears about moving away, but their friends may act as a safe space so they can be strong for you, knowing how you may be feeling. Please remember, they’re doing this from love and likely not to cause despair.
Simply put, offer your time, love, and space during this time. Your student is working their way to adapting to a more independent lifestyle, and this may begin prior to moving out.
Find Support in Your Community
You’re not in this alone. There are many parents support groups available in your area that can provide guidance during this transition. This may include in person sessions, Facebook parent support groups, or weekly dinners with your empty-nesting neighbors who may offer some of the best advice on the transition. Seek community during this time and take advantage of the free time you have now to socialize! Do the things you’ve been putting off and work on your bucket list. Please consider that if things are unusually difficult to let go of, there are many options for consultation and help is available through therapy and mental health services.
Respect Boundaries and Set Realistic Expectations
They’re no longer under your roof, so some rules may seemingly no longer apply. You’ve instilled your values, morals, and life rules with them since they could cognitively understand you – so assume good faith in knowing they’re going to try their best to hold themselves to a higher standard because of that. Remind yourself of ways you can offer support, while allowing them to feel in control of their own journey. This looks different in every household, so comparison to other families isn’t recommended.
Your student may offer compromises in phone time, Facetime calls, visits, and overall communication as they work toward independence while in college. Don’t be disappointed – this means they’re making friends and maintaining a healthy social life while balancing their studies. Support from their peers is integral to their success, so do your best to respect their wishes in sticking to a routine when keeping in touch. Setting realistic expectations when it comes to their grades, their social life, and their journey is huge in building a trusted bond with your student while they’re away.
Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven
How was your glass? While you’re here, let’s cheers to you for successfully sending your child off to college. You should be proud! We sincerely hope these reminders will stay in mind when telling your student “See ya later!” as they move into their home away from home for college. Trust us, it gets easier.
Like what you read? Visit www.encourageme.com and stay up to date with all things college planning, career preparation, and transitioning to a new world of adulthood with your student.
Author:- Kayla Saurborn-Brooks