Your child is taking that all-important step in heading off to university! It’s an incredibly exciting time but for parents, striking a balance between supportive and overbearing can be quite tricky. We’ve put together some tips on how to make the whole process as smooth as possible!
1. Packing and Buying New Stuff
Most likely your child hasn’t had to pack up to live on their own before, so there’s a lot of stuff that they probably take for granted. This is an area that you, as a parent, can probably provide a great deal of support. Everyone has their own opinion of what they’ll need to take to university, so have a look at some checklists and go through them with your child to see if there’s any items that you’ll need to buy.
If your offspring have some favourite feasts that you cook up regularly, offer to teach them how to cook it themselves. You get the double benefit of spending some quality time with your kids whilst also reassuring yourself that they’ll be even better prepared for their first term away from home.
For as much your sake as theirs, talking through their plans for budgeting over the coming years can reduce everyone’s financial stress. If you’re supporting them financially then making sure you’re all clear on how much and what’s affordable. Better to be prepared than for them to end up in a sticky situation later down the line.
4. The Night Before
We’d recommend packing up the car with everything the night before, or at least having any suitcases or boxes ready to go in the hallway. Once you’ve sorted that, you’ve got a great opportunity to go out for a family dinner, or stay in and spend some time working through a bottle of wine or the latest bingeable tv show.
5. Getting to the University
Leave yourself ample time to make the journey. Whilst most universities won’t hold you too strictly to any agreed drop-off times, it will definitely make everyone else’s days easier if you help the system to run smoothly. Generally speaking, there will be opportunities to park fairly near to wherever your child is going to be living, but if you have anything that might make moving all these boxes halfway across campus easier, it would be worthwhile taking; Skateboards and trolleys work quite well!
6. Moving In
Campus is likely going to be a buzz with all the new students and their parents. Best to get all the boxes and suitcases into the room as quickly as possible. Whilst it would be tempting to help unpack everything and to set up the room, this can be quite a personal process, so best to leave that to your child once you’ve left.
Behaving appropriately on moving in day can be quite tricky for some parents and what constitutes appropriate is fairly subjective. Just remember you’re there to help move, but after that they have to form all of these new relationships on their own, so it can be best to stay a little distant from the others present whilst moving in - leave the talking to the kids.
7. Saying Goodbye
If they’re up for it, then maybe suggest grabbing some lunch before you head off, but respect the fact that they might just want to get on with meeting everyone and unpacking all their stuff. The final moments of saying goodbye can be rather emotional but again it’s probably best to not linger for too long. Saying goodbye in their room saves you, and them, from any awkward moments in front of future housemates.
8. What's Next?
Be excited! Your child is about to experience the next chapter of their life. Make sure you’re there for support when they need it, but trust that you’ve raised them well and give them space to explore on their own and to make some mistakes!