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Advice for new families

Helping your student

  • Call without an agenda.
  • Find a substitute word for homesick.
  • Be available without hovering.
  • Ask ahead of time what they would like from you when moving in.
  • E-mail frequently.
  • Brace yourself for the changing of majors.
  • Choose a routine for calling.
  • No "I told you so's."
  • Know a roommate's/friend's name and the phone number of their parents.
  • Mail your student goodies, care packages, and even information about what's going on in their hometown.
  • Say, "I love you" often.

Helping yourself

  • Communicate frequently with letters and e-mail.
  • Read the student handbook so you know all the services and options.
  • Attend Family Day.
  • Make their first birthday or holiday away from home a good one.
  • Introduce yourself to residence hall advisors or housemothers who have your best interest at heart.
  • Be prepared to see their room so clean.
  • Continue old traditions with siblings still at home.
  • Buy clear plastic containers to store their things so it doesn't look discarded, only saved.
  • Get a(nother) dog if you miss your previously noisy, lively house.
  • Chronicle good events; minimize bad news.
  • Know your limits and what battles are truly worth it. (Most aren't.)
  • Remember: hinting is always transparent.
  • Don't believe all you hear.
  • Call your own parents.

From Empty Nest . . . Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steenhouse, PhD.

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