How to cope when your child leaves for college

It seems like she was just starting kindergarten — and now your child is going off to college. When a child moves away from home for the first time, it can be very exciting — but anxiety-inducing — for parents.

College girl moving into dorm

Follow these tips to help cope when your child leaves for college.

Step 1: Prepare her the best you can

When your child is away at college, you won’t be able to help oversee her day-to-day life — and that’s a good thing. It’s time to let go, as your child is now an adult (or almost an adult). You’ve done your best to prepare her for the real world. Remind her of the important lessons before she goes (about money management, safe sex and all those other tough topics) and provide her with the tools to succeed.

Step 2: Take advantage of technology

You shouldn’t bother your child with multiple phone calls every day while he is away at college. Instead, take advantage of technology and schedule a weekly Skype or video chat. Let your college student know that you are always available by phone, text or email — but let him take the lead about how much communication he wants or needs.

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Step 3: Spend more time with your spouse

When your child leaves home, you now can reconnect with your spouse. We love our kids but sometimes we don’t spend enough time on our personal relationships with other people — primarily our hubbies. If your only child (or last child) is leaving the house, you can really focus on doing more things together as a couple.

Step 4: Take care of yourself

Your child leaving for college is a big adjustment — whether he is your first or last child to leave. Even though you are happy, you may also feel upset or sad about the loss. Talk to your friends who have already experienced the same thing and reach out for support if you need it.

Read about rekindling the flame with your hubby >>

Step 5: Try new things

When your last (or only) child leaves the home, you can take that extra time and translate it into “me” time. Make a bucket list of the things that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t tried yet. It doesn’t have to be anything risky or ultra-adventurous. It can be as simple as taking a class or making time for a weekly pedicure.

Step 6: Show him you care

Though your child is out of sight, he’s never out of mind. Show him how much you miss him by sending regular care packages. All new college students appreciate snacks, gadgets, rolls of quarters for the laundry and other essentials.

More parenting how-tos

How to become a more easygoing mom
How to make over your kid’s bedroom on a budget
How to sneak in a little me time


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