So, move-in day is finally here. You’ve packed the car, moved everything into the dorm, and now it’s time to say goodbye. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran college parent, leaving your child is never easy. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition a little easier.
1. Remember this is what you’ve been preparing them for.All these years you’ve been teaching your child to make decisions, take responsibility, and live their lives without absolute dependence on you. Now, it’s time to respect and encourage your student’s independence.
- DON’T do everything for your student when it comes to checking in, getting a parking pass, or whatever else he or she might need to do after moving in.
- DO encourage him or her to participate in events designed to help them get to know other students and build relationships, like Welcome Week, LINK groups or CityLINK Service Day. Your student should also check out the Office of Student Development.
- DO challenge your student to grow spiritually during his or her time at Trevecca. Make sure he or she knows about Discipleship Groups, chapel, and T.A.G. trips.
2. Give your student space—but not too much.College is a time for your student to learn and experience more independence in a safe environment. As a parent, you need to let them have the space to do that. Don’t linger unnecessarily when you drop your student off, try to pick out his or her classes, or plan to visit every weekend. At the same time, you shouldn’t check out of your child’s life entirely. In a season of great change, your student still needs a sense of familiarity, especially as a freshman.
- DO set a specific time to talk. Texting is good, but let your child initiate contact, especially in those first few days after move-in.
- DO take advantage of built-in times to visit, like Homecoming.
- DON’T stalk your child’s social media outlets or try to “friend” every one of his or her new acquaintances.
3. Pray for your student.
Whether your child is a freshman, a senior, or somewhere in between, he or she will always need your prayers. Set aside a specific time in your weekly schedule to pray specifically for his or her needs, classes, professors, friends, and more.
- DO pray for your student to have wisdom and make choices that honor God.
- DON’T forget that your child has a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:4).
4. Be realistic.
College is a time of great adjustment—for your student and for you. Don’t underestimate that. Know that there will be times when your student is overwhelmed—by assignments, new responsibilities, deadlines, or even homesickness. Also acknowledge that there may be moments when you have to readjust to your child not living at home. Treat your student—and yourself—with a little grace to adjust to this new phase of life.
- DO make plans to fill the holes in your schedule that your child living away from home has left. Serve in a ministry of your church or develop a hobby.
- DON’T try to ignore how you feel. Seek to express your emotions in healthy ways and give your family time to adjust to the new normal.
A child going to college is a big step, for students, parents, and siblings. Take time to acknowledge that. Create special moments with your college student, but don’t overlook his or her siblings or your spouse. As your student experiences new milestones, find appropriate ways to commemorate and celebrate them as a family.
- DO have a general idea about the schedule of the semester. Pay attention to when midterms and finals are and encourage your student during these stressful times.
- DON’T overlook something your student sees as important, even if you don’t.