7 Tips for Sending Your Firstborn off to College
To all the moms familiar with the phrase, “where did the time go?”, we totally get it. They grow up too fast! Many mammas find themselves asking this when their high schoolers are gearing up for the jump to college. It probably seems like just yesterday you were dropping them off at elementary or middle school.
If you’re struggling with the transition yourself, and internally freaking out, look no further. We’re here to help! Read on for our best tips to stay sane while your son or daughter begins the college search and starts their next chapter in life:
Start Early and Stay Organized
Preparing for your first kid to fly the nest can take an emotional toll on any mom, but the feeling is most likely bittersweet. Aside from your feelings, it’s important to make sure that your child is excited about their next chapter and not getting cold feet.
If they’ve already decided on a school or are excited about one in particular, start by going all out with your school spirit. Take your family to a football or basketball game and deck yourselves out with their college merch! Partake in some unique campus traditions when you’re on a visit to get the full experience. Getting them excited about life after high school can make the transition less intimidating and inspire them to play a more active role in the application or decision process.
Talk About Money
The conversation about who’s paying for college should happen sooner rather than later. If you’re expecting your child to pay for the whole cost of college, or even half the bill, make sure to communicate this at the earliest point possible. Your support as a parent can come in many forms, and helping your son or daughter navigate student loans, college essays, application platforms, or financial aid, can make a big difference. Sharing your knowledge and helping to foster financial responsibility is going to go a long way for your child as they experience this new independence.
If you’re able to help your child pay for college, you can explore different routes other than federal and private loans, like using your home as an asset in the form of an equity loan and putting this money towards tuition. Coming out of college without a crippling amount of debt will take a load off of your child’s plate. They will be thanking you later!
Restrain Freak Outs
It’s totally understandable if you’re already counting down the days you have left with your child before they leave or until they come home for their first break, but try not to jump to this doomsday scenario. Putting on a brave face and making sure it shows that you’re excited about this next step will ensure your child doesn’t absorb any of your anxiety or worry.
You’re allowed to cry and are actually encouraged to let it all out. It’s an emotional day! Nevertheless, it may be best to save your tears for the car ride home after dropping your child off at college; odds are, your son or daughter is most likely fighting them off as well. Keeping your goodbye quick and not completely unraveling all your emotions will help make the move-in process less shocking for your child.
Give Them Space
It can be hard to restrain yourself from texting your firstborn once you’ve dropped them off at college and not checking up on them constantly. Let your child know that you’re here if they need anything, but make sure to give them the space to meet new people and engage in their college experience (at least during the first few days!). This is how they’re going to best adjust to this new and drastic life change.
Returning home without your child after college dropoff is going to be hard, there’s no denying that. Not seeing or hearing from them every hour of the day is going to be a shock at first, but it’ll be even more rewarding and exciting when you get to hear about their new classes, friends, and cramped dorm life.
Understand The New Dynamic
With college comes newfound independence and potential dynamic changes, especially when your child returns home from break. It’ll be an exciting moment, but keep in mind that they’ll have grown up a lot in a short amount of time. They’ve experienced an exhilarating level of freedom living on their own, making their own decisions, and leaving their dorm without announcing where they’re going. Keep this in mind if they’re a little more annoyed by life in their hometown or sit them down for an honest chat about your new dynamic. Though you may remember all of the hilarious things they did when they were little and liked to get into trouble, they probably want to be treated more like a grown-up now.
Give Yourself A Break!
Above all, take a breather, moms! Give yourself some grace. This period of time is going to be an emotional rollercoaster and you may be going through just as much as your child is. On the bright side, this could be a great time to focus on some “me time” self-care while you treat yourself or put on some of your favorite tunes and have a good old-fashioned wine night.