There are so many resources out there to help prepare high school graduates for the stressors of college life. However, many don’t speak to the transition that happens at home with parents, once kids have left for school. If you are not prepared for it, adjusting to a new household dynamic without your child can be difficult. This is a very emotional and stressful time for parents and students. Here are some tips to make the college transition easier for yourself and your household.
Plan ahead, start transitioning your focus back towards yourself, by finding non-parent ways to enjoy your time when your children are still in high school.
Discuss communication plans with your child beforehand, to ensure everyone has the same expectations. Having a set day/time-frame to talk helps get consistency and ensures your child knows to expect the call, and looks forward to it. For parents, it is letting your child choose how often to communicate, some teens need more guidance and reassurance, therefore they want to speak more often; for others, a quick call once a week is enough just to check in. Most students want to stay in fairly close contact with their parents, but they just want to avoid frequent and unpredictable interruptions.
Ensure your child knows where to go when they need help. Encourage them to seek support from their advisors and professors. They need to learn to seek assistance from the resources they have available to them. Also, make sure they know that you are there for them, when they have exhausted all other avenues.
Help them see that their first semester away is going to be very stressful, to think through their course load very seriously. Taking classes, they are interested in, and not pressuring themselves to take all challenging courses their first semester, will help for a smoother transition and learning their new routine.
Think about their siblings that are still at home. Realize that they may be glad that their brother or sister is gone, it means they have more of your time and attention. Don’t make them feel bad or guilty if they do not miss their sibling, this is completely normal.
Ensure you maintain normalcy and your current routine as much as possible. Drastically changing your lives or routine will make the transition more stressful for you. Keep things normal and go about your daily routine, this will ensure your transition is a smooth as possible and removes extra stressors from your entering your life.