How could it be? That little baby you were just reading Goodnight Moon to, is packing up and moving on to college and you are FREAKING OUT!
Yes, there’s no other way to put it! It’s freak-out and meltdown time but it’s okay because you are not alone!
Before you go too far over the edge, congratulate yourself on a job well done! You’ve got your child to this point. A few all-nighters, a few scrapes, hurt feelings, ups and downs and you got them here!
And, you have figured out a way to pay for it! (Still figuring? That’s okay, too!) And now it is settling in, they are really leaving! WOW!
With all of the hustle and bustle of packing and paperwork and double-checking everything, here is a list of a few fun and often forgotten things to do for your child’s countdown to college. (Wine does not appear on this list, but then again, neither does breathing, and both are necessary!)
1. Breakdown on cash gifts: Save a few bucks to buy gift cards for your college kids to enjoy places on campus that might be saving graces for them, such as Starbucks (free Wi-Fi); Dunkin Donuts; pizza, etc. Send these gift cards to your student when you feel the need to call; trust me, they will appreciate this more!
Rural or city campuses require transportation to get around! Send your kid a gas card or bus pass; getting around is half the battle. Slip money into their pants pockets or suitcase. A few singles will surprise the brainiac and that lil’ bonus may be just the trick to brighten their day.
2. Give your kid a crash course on washing whites and coloreds so he/she won’t be lost in the campus laundromat.
3. Submit your kid’s college selection, awards, scholarship info to your local paper. These are usually free and are great treat to send in the mail to your student! Awwww, proud parent!
4. Mark your calendar every 30 days or so (at least through Valentine’s Day) send a care package in the mail. Corny, yes, but snacks can go a long way.
5. Write a letter in the car or driving home. Pull out those tissues and translate those emotions into words! Write a letter to let them know what this college time means to you, gift the letter to your student at graduation!
6. Instagram, Twit pic, Facebook….it’s all good but after a long night and a little homesickness, looking at your smartphone just isn’t cutting it! But a framed pic on the nightstand can soothe the soul. Go ahead send your favorite pic to our kid and frame it!
7. If it’s your child, a family member, or a student you mentor, everybody needs a one-time favor, no questions asked. Write this on a notecard and put it with their things: If you should encounter a problem of any sort, you can call me for one favor. Write it; give it, and mean it; no hassle!
Finally, you’ve done it all and made the drop. The dynamic in the house has changed and you are sure you have forgotten something, you reach for the phone, and you dial A FRIEND! Not your child!
Let your child settle down. Let them learn. Warn your friend in advance so they can talk you off the ledge. Remember the wine and the fine job you have done in preparing them for college and know that this is a great problem to have.
Loving your children so much that it’s hard to let go; but because of that love, you will let go and they will show you that they are ready!
Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development and a wife and mother focused on spreading positivity; one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Follow Nicole on Twitter @RealTalkNic
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