College dorms are buzzing. College students are meeting new roommates, finding their way to classes, and for some it’s a first time away from home. That can result in a touch of homesickness that you as a parent can help with. Hercampus.com recommends a number of great tips to help the new college student. These can include staying connected with home. But “not too connected.”
Staying Connected While Letting Go
A great way for parents and loved ones to help with that “staying connected thing” is a care package from home. Look for snacks, photos, and dorm room decorations to include in a care package. Consider mugs, toss pillows, and even a comfy blanket to make all the difference. Having a warm, welcoming room to come back to after a long day of classes, or to hunker down in when a new student is suddenly down with a cold and far from the comforts of home, can make all the difference in the world for seeing a new way of life in a positive way.
Turning a Dorm Room Into a Cozy Space
HGTV recommends keeping the size of a room in mind. There isn’t a lot of space for furniture and additional storage. But simple things like toss pillows and comforters can give the room a welcoming, “hug-from-home” feel when its needed most. Coordinating colors can be tough with a roommate or two, but items in a neutral palette can work perfectly. And something as simple as matching toss pillows can be a sweet “getting to know you gift” that can also make a room more comfortable.
Great “Care Package” Theme Ideas
DIY Ready suggests creating themed care packages:
- First Day College Care Package – including supporting notes, USB sticks, pens, candy, and office supplies
- Things-You-Forgot Package – including bathroom essentials, snack bars, and socks
- Get Well Soon Package – using a large coffee/tea mug, and including honey, cold medicine, lozenges, and a caring note from home
- Winter is Coming Package – If your child is a Game of Thrones fan, they’ll get a kick out of that message, but include mittens, hats, scarfs, and even a lightweight comforter that’s large enough for a few friends to snuggle under as they talk the night away. Cute pajamas or a comfy personalized robe also make a great gift for those sharing a bathroom with others.
Being a Support Network for Your College Student
It can be tough for kids and parents during that first semester or first year away. Everyone is getting accustomed to a different life. Loved ones you’ve seen day in day out for years are now suddenly building their life without you. You may get teary phone calls, not hear anything for weeks, or have a college student anxious to come back home for a visit as soon as possible. It’s all part of the adjustment phase.
Ways to Help the New Student
Rather than supporting the tears and the visits, provide support for the child to remain at school. Greatergood.com recommends supporting your child with self-compassion and kindness. Help them accept that “their difficult feelings are part of the universal experience of leaving home.” Get them to talk about how they are feeling and encourage them to get involved in activities on campus. Set goals to explore one new place a day, or meet one new person a day. Soon they’ll feel far more at home at school! Then it will be your chance to adjust.
A first year away from home can be tough. Knowing that family is still thinking of you, and having small items around that provide the comfort of home can make a huge difference. Little items like toss pillows, blankets, mugs and a favorite stuffed animal can make a dorm room a cozy refuge when the world seems a bit too strange to handle all at once.