If your child has got the grades and a place at university, then the chances are that you are over the moon about their future. However, while it’s all well and good being excited about your child heading off to university, it’s important to take the time to think about how to prepare for the changes that will come with this as a family. Because the fact is that when a child goes off to university, it’s not just them that has things to adapt to, but the family as a whole.
That’s why it’s so important that you take the time to think carefully about how your entire family prepares for the departure of your child as they head off to university. There’s a lot of steps that should be thought about and taken, to ensure that the transition is as easy for everyone as possible. It’s an exciting time, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s crucial that the whole family takes steps to ensure that everyone is prepared for the changes ahead.
Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to some of the ways that you can help ensure that everyone is prepared for your child heading off to university, including your child themselves. For everything that you need to know, read on.
Ways to prepare the family
Hold a family meeting
If you haven’t already held a family meeting, this is the first thing that you should do. The purpose of this family meeting is to discuss the changes that are ahead of you as a family unit. Obviously, congratulating your child and telling them how proud you are of them is important, but it’s also crucial to acknowledge the fact that everything is going to change when they head off to university.
Sitting down as a family is a great way to address the fact that things are going to change significantly once your child has left home for university. It’s also a chance to share ideas and concerns that you may have, or that anyone else within the family may have. You may find that your child is nervous about leaving home – this is the ideal opportunity to reassure them.
Talk to younger family members
Something that a lot of parents forget to do when an older child heads off to university is talk to younger family members about it. The fact is that often, younger children don’t really understand what’s going on and how long their older sibling will be away for, which is why it’s so important to make time to talk to them about this. If they’re especially close to their older sibling, it could be worth getting the older sibling to chat to them about the fact they’ll be leaving home soon.
If you’re not sure how to make them understand that nothing will change in terms of the relationship they share with their older sibling, and that they’ll still get to see them lots, then it could be worth doing your research. There are plenty of children’s books and DVDs about dealing with everyday issues like this, it’s just a case of finding the right one for your child. It’s crucial that regardless of your younger child’s age, you make the time to discuss the fact that their older sibling is leaving home and what this will mean for the family dynamic and the relationship that they share with them.
Take the child that’s leaving to college events
Of course, while the whole family will be going through a lot of changes when your older child heads off to university, it’s important to remember that it’s even more stressful and scary for them. Which is why it’s so crucial that you make time to take them to events that will help prepare them for college life.
The fact is that starting college is a big adjustment, which is why it’s a good idea to find ways to make the adjustment process easier for your child, such as by booking them into college events that will help prepare them for what life at university will bring. You may also find that your child’s school runs events that are aimed at helping them to get ready for life at college and teach them vital things about self-sufficient living.
Write a packing list
If there’s one part of preparing for your child going off to university that’s stressful, it’s the process of writing a packing list. Because there’s just so much that you need to think about – you would never think that so many different essentials would be needed for your child’s dorm room, but the reality is that they are. Of course, working out what these items are that are needed can be seriously stressful, as can buying them. The good news is that most colleges send out tick lists for new students, so you should have a good idea about all of the essentials that you need to buy.
In addition to the regular items, such as bed linen, towels, school books, and so on, it’s also important to think about how you can ensure that your child’s dorm room is as comfortable and homey as possible for them. Because ultimately, if you want to make sure that they settle in well to college, it’s important that their dorm room is as welcoming as ever. It’s the little things that make all the difference when it comes to creating a warm and welcoming space at college for your child.
Things like posters and wall art are ideal for adding a personal touch to their dorm room. Rugs, throws and cozy bedding is perfect for creating a warm and welcoming space. You could also consider investing in somewhere comfortable for them to lounge about on, such as a bean bag chair perhaps – this kind of feature is the ideal type of dorm room furniture. The key to dorm room success is helping your child to pack items that will make their dorm room feel more like home. For kids that are prone to homesickness, this is even more important.
Tackle how you will feel
A lot of parents make the mistake of not thinking about how they will feel when their child heads off to college for the first time. However, this isn’t a mistake that you want to make – it’s important that you take some time to think about your own emotions. It’s perfectly normal to feel excited and proud at the same time as feeling sad – this is how most parents feel when their children leave home for the first time.
It’s important to take some time to tackle your own feelings about your child leaving home for the first time. Don’t feel bad about how you feel – it’s perfectly normal to wish that your child could stay at home forever, while also knowing that you don’t want that for them. You may find that you begin to suffer from a little empty nest syndrome, in the lead up to your child’s departure from your home, and afterwards too – just remember that feeling like this is completely normal.
Plan to have a celebration before they leave
It’s a good idea to make those last few days that your child is at home special by planning a celebration for them before they leave. Get the whole family together and any of their close friends from school and plan a big celebration send off for them. This could be a meal at a local restaurant, a party in the garden, or a day out somewhere doing an activity – it doesn’t matter what you choose to do, just as long as you find a way to celebrate your child’s success and say goodbye to them in style.
The great thing about planning a big send off is the fact that, that way everyone can say goodbye together, and you won’t have numerous people popping over to say goodbye before you head off to drop them at college.
Discuss how often you expect them to communicate
Before your drop your child off at university, it’s a good idea to take the time to sit down and talk about how often you expect them to communicate and how. This is important as you don’t want to spend those first few weeks that they are at university worrying about them, so setting clear expectations about how you expect them to communicate with you and when is vital. Just explain to them that you don’t want to be worrying about them, which is why you’d like to hear from them a couple of times a week or so.
Sending your teen off to university is an incredibly exciting experience, and one that you have probably been planning for their whole lives. However, just because you’ve always dreamed of your child going off to college, that doesn’t mean that when the time actually comes, you’ll be happy about it. You will be incredibly proud of your child for getting into college but that doesn’t mean that you, and the entire family won’t feel a little sad about it as well. Hopefully, the tips and advice above will help to make the adjustment process a little easier.