I opened the door to my sons’ bedroom one morning and stood there a few seconds watching him sleep. Snuggled under a blanket, his six foot two frame didn’t leave much room at the edge of his bed. As my son prepares to embark upon the college years, I am reminded that his room will soon be empty (unless his brother takes it over).It can be an emotional time knowing that your first born will soon leave the nest. It may require you getting your heart and head ready. But, isn’t this what we spend 17 or 18 years preparing for? Getting him ready to one day become independent?
As I was thinking about my son leaving for college, I had a flashback to my pregnancy days and reading the book, What to expect when you’re expecting. Now I am wondering whether there is a book titled What to expect in the college years? Maybe the assumption is that by college years parents are wise enough to handle a myriad of situations. Hmmm…we shall see.
So, how does a parent prepare for a child going to college? Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1. Know that you have taught your child well and she will be ok.
2. Let your child know that he can call you any time.
3. Spend quality time together before he goes away – this may be more for you than for your child. For our family, we reinstated family nights. When the kids were younger, we would dedicate one night each week for doing something fun. Usually this meant playing board games or card games.
4. You can give digital hug –in this day and age you can always text, Skype, face time or use some other form of technology to give a quick hello to your child.
5. Turn your energy to yourself – maybe there are things you’ve wanted to do, but have put them off, do them now. Are there hobbies you’ve neglected or old friends you haven’t seen in a while? Now is the time.
6. If you have other children at home, rest assured that if you don’t get the college thing right this time…you still have another chance.
As I closed the door to my sons' bedroom, I left him resting peacefully and thought I have done my best and it will be okay.Do you have tips for coping with a child going away to college?