If you’re like me, you are having a mini panic attack wondering how you will continue to connect in healthy ways with your child once they leave for college.

Change

This is a huge change! Perhaps even more so for parents than the kids. After all, for the last eighteen years we have shouldered the responsibility of growing these once helpless, tiny people into mature,  full grown adults. Now they are ready to fly and it feels so fast. The phrase “the years are short, but the days are long” is so true.

This is the moment your little bird leaves the nest. As they get ready to begin college, as parents we still desperately want to connect with them, but also know how important it is to navigate and respect new boundaries. Following are some ideas to connect with your college age kid this year.

Connection

  1. Care Packages

    What college kid doesn’t want to receive a care package? A care package is a snail mail hug. Most often it contains fun snacks, gift cards for local food places or gas, and a surprise or two. I am planning to do monthly care packages complete with seasonal decorations to help my daughter keep things festive in her dorm room. I can’t wait for October when I can load her up with Halloween stuff!  The best thing about care packages is this is an easy way to reach out across the miles to let them know that you are thinking of them and still maintain your status as their biggest cheerleader from afar.

  2. FaceTime Calls

    Okay, so I’m not delusional in thinking that I’m going to get these all the time, but I’m hoping once my daughter gets settled that we can schedule weekly FaceTime calls. Even 5-10 minutes a week would satisfy my mama self and maybe a text here and there for proof of life as well. Also, let them know they can call or text anytime, and always answer those phone calls from them, even when inconvenient!

  3. Social Media

    Follow the college’s social media. Not only do colleges have a main social media account, but many also have department and activity specific accounts that you can follow. This can be a great source for conversation starters with your college kid about what’s going on around campus. Who knows, you may even see them in a photo and I know that would make my day!

  4. Open Home Policy

    Make sure your kids know that they are welcome to come home any weekend and bring friends! An offer to be a host is a way for your college kid to share pieces of their new world with you as well as share pieces of home with new friends. A few home-cooked meals and a place to do laundry outside of the dorm laundromat can be a welcome break now and then.

  5. Trust and Pray

    Trust them, pray for them and respect their new freedom. If you want your college student to remember to call home don’t make it a chore to do so. Think about when you were away at college and how much there was to explore, people to meet and no parents watching your every move! This is a natural transition and the first step toward true adulthood. It’s an important time in their lives and as parents we need to learn how to relinquish our job as director and embrace our new role as guide. I anticipate this won’t be easy for me, but I know it’s necessary. I want her to thrive and be confident on her own two feet. If mom is still calling and texting from home all day it will diminish her faith in herself. Trust your children and know that you did your job well.

You Got This

The bottom line is to respect new boundaries and allow our young adults to soar! We can do this parents and so can they!

leaving for college

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Tamara Nowlin
Tamara was born and raised in Southern California. She obtained her B.A. in Political Science & Sociology from Pepperdine and after undergrad attended Southern Methodist University Law School in Dallas, Texas. Tamara has resided in Ventura County for the last 14 years where she lives with her two teenage children. In her career she has enjoyed many roles from attorney to school admissions to marketing & legal communications. She is the founder of a local writing services business called Yellow Daisy Writers. She offers writing help for small businesses and job seekers as well as special event writing for weddings and other milestones. Tamara loves to travel, write, go to the beach, eat at fun restaurants, and hang out with her kids. On an average day you will find her with her nose in a book or doing yoga. Tamara is excited to join Ventura Mom’s Collective and contribute to her community in a new way!

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