Stay in Touch with College Students - Care Package Ideas for Students

Keeping In Touch With Your College Student

Sending your teen off to college might feel at once exhilarating and terrifying, but this is the day you've been preparing for. Besides missing them terribly, one of your biggest challenges will be keeping the lines of communication open without becoming a helicopter parent who constantly hovers and gets a little too involved. Still, you want to make sure your student is adjusting well. And sometimes, there will be days when you miss your child so much that you just want to hear his or her voice.

So how do you walk the fine line between being a concerned, loving, and supportive parent, versus one who becomes overbearing and awkwardly involved in their young adult's life?

We've got you covered with some tips for keeping in touch with your college child without overstepping any boundaries.

Let your teen make some rules

Talk with your student about how often he or she is comfortable with checking in with you. Maybe you'll agree that the student can initiate video chat or phone calls once a week, while you can say hello via texting in between. Remember, new students not only have to navigate a whole new academic schedule, but they're also trying to form new friendships and take part in activities. The key is to be available for your child without expecting him or her to be available for you 24/7.

Tread lightly on social media

Even if you're friends with each other, resist the urge to chime in on or "like" every single post, especially on updates that might involve a new group of friends you haven't met. Of course, if you spot something questionable, there's nothing wrong with subtly mentioning it the next time you speak, along with a warning about how social media oversharing can come back to haunt them.

Even if you're friends with each other, resist the urge to chime in on or "like" every single post, especially on updates that might involve a new group of friends you haven't met. Of course, if you spot something questionable, there's nothing wrong with subtly mentioning it the next time you speak, along with a warning about how social media oversharing can come back to haunt them.

Keep conversations casual

You obviously have a lot to wonder about regarding how your teen is adapting during those first few weeks, but interrogations about study habits, hygiene, and parties will most likely backfire. Instead, create a laid back dialogue such as providing updates about what's going on back home. You can also try asking the same types of questions you might have asked during your family dinners. Things like: Anything funny happen this week? What's your favorite class so far? How is the cafeteria food? Little by little, your student will open up and share tidbits about life on campus.

Surprise them

Care packages and hand written letters are sweet but passive ways to show a homesick teen some love and affection. The gesture will be very much appreciated and may even earn you some brownie points with your student's roommate if you throw in a few extra snacks.

Stay positive

If he or she is struggling through a tough transition, avoid coming off as judgmental or probing if you find out about a less than stellar grade, for example. Avoid phrases like "you'd better get it together" or "what's going on with you?" and try not to keep reminding him or her how much the tuition bill is, or how high the stakes are. Instead, encourage a meeting with the professor or for your child to look into peer tutoring or academic services on campus. Gentle guidance - the kind you'd offer a close friend - can be more effective than piling on the pressure.

It might seem weird to speak to your teen adult-to-adult, but the first college semester will lay the groundwork for doing just that. Be confident in how you raised your child, and step back to watch him or her grow and flourish at college. In the meantime, he or she doesn't have to know that you're secretly counting down the days until you get to see your grown-up baby in person once again.