A special thanks to Laura Rosenberg MA, LPCP for writing this guest post! She has some wonderful words of wisdom for parents who are getting ready to send their kids off to college. Enjoy!
The summer before freshman year of college is a busy one for parents. Trust me; if you think the first 18 years of your child’s life have flown by, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Here are just a few tips for parents of incoming freshman to help make the most out of this important summer.
- Plan some family time together – Before you know it, your college-bound child will be out the door. Plan a family vacation, a long weekend, or a special outing and don’t waste this precious time discussing any college “issues” which might ruin the fun. Keep in mind you will be “competing” with friends and romantic relationships. If your child is really torn, you can always invite a special friend to come with. Try and do this early on in the summer. Don’t wait till the last minute!
- Set your finances – Avoid delaying the all-important discussion regarding finances until money issues come up at college. Develop and agree on a budget BEFORE the fall, which spells out what the respective responsibilities are for parents and the student. For many teens, this may be the first time they are responsible for paying bills or dealing with a bank. Teaching them over the summer will make this a more seamless transition.
- Get organized – Keep a file for all of the college information you receive. Make sure your child reads and understands it. Most communications from colleges provide helpful tips and important directions on shopping, packing, schedules, and the move-in process, and should not be missed. Based on this info….make a separate calendar with your teen including all the important dates. Don’t forget to include shopping dates as well.
- Be prepared – Work together on the preparation for the move. Don’t be burdened alone. Even if you relish doing this one last parenting part for your child, divvy up the “to do” list. This is an important opportunity for your child to take on responsibilities. Soon they will be on their own…learning how to be independent is an important goal for summer as well. Oh yeah, and if they haven’t learned yet…you might want to teach them how to do their laundry!
Make sure you’re move-in ready – Check into companies that specialize in college shipping kids stuff into the dorms. I know you may feel you can handle it alone, but trust me….that day when you drop your “baby” off at college will be an emotional one. Anything that can help take some of the pressure off might leave you with less tears of frustration. The other tears….well that is just part of the process!