A Parent's Guide

To help you deal with the practical packing as well as the drama-filled goodbyes, we've put together a guide to get you and your college-bound kid through this exciting and trying period.

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Tackling the emotional impact

Sure, your kids may boast confidently about how eager they are to leave their childhood home and go out into the big brave world on their own, but the truth is that it will be a difficult transition for both of you. Sending your child off to college really doesn't have to be an emotional roller coaster, though, according to Dr. Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D, Sylvan Learning's senior vice president for education outreach. As a teacher of high school seniors for many years, Bavaria admits that the secret -- as in so many other educational challenges -- is in preparation, state of mind and connections.

 

Learn as much as you can about the school. Remember when you sent your child to middle school for the first time? Remember how you took her to the school before the beginning of the school year so she could learn where everything was? Now it's time to do it again. Get to know the campus through an actual or virtual visit. Learn about the place where your child will live. The more you know, the more you'll feel a part of his life.

 

Communicate regularly... but not too regularly. Take your cue from your student. Be open to communication, but generally, let him initiate it. This is a time for him to learn about independence, and he'll be experimenting with increased freedom. He'll probably call more during his first weeks away than later, when he'll feel more confident.

 

Pay attention! During these calls, learn the names of the kids she mentions, the professors' names, the course titles and other information she shares with you.

 

Invite roommates, study buddies, friends and classmates home for weekends or -- if practical -- for home-cooked dinners or restaurant meals.

 

Up next: Empty nest syndrome


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