Discover the Right Way to Help Your Child Move to College

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Helping Your Child Move to University

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Moving a child to university is a bittersweet experience for both you and them. While you will probably be grateful to have your home to yourself again, you will undoubtedly miss your child. The same goes for your child, who will most likely enjoy the freedom of college but will not relish the prospect of taking on all the responsibilities that come with being an adult.

You can help them make this large transition in their life far less stressful by assisting in their move to school, even if they claim they don't want your help.

Before the move

Buying everything for the first year at university is a daunting task, one that you can assist your child in if they ask for help.

Take some free time to slowly purchase the necessary school supplies with your child throughout the summer leading up to their first semester, allowing them to make design decisions of their own.

This is a perfect opportunity for you to bond with your child before they leave and help them relieve some moving-related stress as well.

Moving in

When the day has finally arrived, the best way you can assist your child is by staying calm and helping keep their stress levels down. Specifically by not being overly emotional, remaining patient and helping with their move to school in any way possible.
  • Fortify in advance. Make sure you and your child gets plenty of rest and enjoy a fulfilling breakfast in the morning. You have a long day ahead of you and it may be your last chance to enjoy a family meal together for a while.
  • Plan ahead. Print out and become familiar with the directions to the university and the move-in instructions ahead of time.
  • Pack up the car. Before starting the moving process you should help your child pack up the car by properly filling it with their things for university. To save on time the day of, pack whatever you are able to in advance.
  • Arrive on time. Nothing breeds stress more than arriving late, so give yourself and your child plenty of time to arrive at their dorm and get them settled in. The sooner you get there, the quicker your child can begin to get settled.
  • Be ready for everything. Move in day at university will be akin to chaos, with helpers, new students and parents milling about everywhere. To make this go as smoothly as possible, follow all directions given to you by volunteers.
  • Allow your child to take the lead. It may be difficult, but allow your child to take the initiative and complete move-in tasks on their own, such as introducing themselves to their dormmate, asking for directions, picking up textbooks, etc.

Settling in

Once you've arrived in your child's dorm, it's time to begin the settling in process, which will be made even harder if their dormmate and their parents are already in attendance as dorms are not known for their spaciousness.
  • Set up the big stuff. Help your child arrange their dorm room by moving the bed, desk and other college furniture into place. Assist in setting up any electronics such as televisions or computers. So as to not make waves with their dormmate, you may want to wait until they arrive to do this.
  • Clear some space. Don't unpack for your child (allow them to make their dorm room theirs in their own time) but you can help by placing moving boxes out of the way in the cramped space until they can unpack.
  • Meet the parents. Introduce yourself to the parents of your child's dormmate while the pair get to know each other outside of adult influence. Exchange contact information in case of emergency.

After the move

Once you've helped your child as much as you can, it's important not to linger. Rather than sticking around for dinner, allow your child to get to know their new dormmate and explore the campus on their own terms. If they seem excited about the prospect of your departure, don't take it personally, they're just excited and ready to begin a new chapter in their life.

Don't forget, they're not leaving you for forever. Whether you like it or not, moving away for school is merely a temporary reprieve.

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on August 12, 2014 - Moving Expert
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