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GOODBYE FOR NOW Is Your Child Ready to Leave Home?
As the summer comes to an end, you may be preparing to send your child off to college for the first time. While this may be an exciting time for your child, saying goodbye to the life they shared with you at home can be difficult. They will soon be entering a new routine that includes feeding themselves, managing their own schedule, and doing chores unprompted — all without any help from Mom and Dad. No transition is perfect, but this change doesn’t have to be a disaster. Whether your child is moving into a dorm, campus housing, or their first apartment, there are a few things you can do to make this transition as painless as possible. PACK THE ESSENTIALS. Having a tangible list you can check off in preparation for this big shift can help everyone involved feel more prepared. There are the obvious things kids need when they move out, like dishes, silverware, or a lamp, but pay attention to the areas that might get overlooked. If your child will be living on campus, check out the bathroom situation and make sure they won’t find themselves without a shower curtain on the first day of class. If they’re living in their own apartment, it’s a good idea to equip them with a small toolkit and a pair of jumper cables for their car. Other overlooked essentials include: • Surge protector with USB ports • A laundry hamper • First-aid kit • Disinfecting wipes • Extra hangers • Shower caddy (especially for dorms with a shared bathroom)
Having all the essentials — and a few extra items — will make the initial adjustment that much easier for your child and reduce the number of panicked phone calls home. TEACH GOOD COPING SKILLS. Parents should go over a lot of life lessons with their kids before they start living on their own, like how to avoid eating ramen noodles at every meal, for example. But beyond technical skills, it’s important to make sure kids have healthy coping mechanisms. Even adults who have been living on their own for years can struggle with the stress of responsibility. Offer advice on how to deal with the stress of balancing work or school, navigating awkward social interactions, and staying calm in overwhelming situations.
goodbye to your kid and take your leave. It can be tempting to find reasons to linger a bit longer, but resist the urge to order pizza or straighten out the photos on the wall. It’s hard to leave your baby behind, but this is their first big step into adulthood, and you should let them take it. Hugs are okay, and so is promising to check in by phone later, but leaving quickly shows your child that you are confident in their ability to survive on their own. There will be a lot of tearful goodbyes this time of year, but if you face these challenges with the right mindset, you and your child will be set up for success.
LEAVE A CARE KIT. Think of it like the care package you sent the first time your child went to summer camp. Leave them with a box full of some nonessential but meaningful items your child might not have for a while, like a box of their favorite cookies, a recipe card with their favorite meal, a pack of extra batteries, or a letter expressing your love and support. LET THEM GO. Once everything is moved into the dorm or apartment, say
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