There are ways you can help your homesick college student, it happens more often than you would think. Heading off to college can be exciting, challenging…and heartbreaking if your child is unhappy with the transition from living at home to staying in a dorm or apartment. Help ease the worry and sadness of those first few weeks with an assortment of techniques that can provide encouragement and a soothing touch as the collegian settles into a new, more independent life.
Once you notice your child is suffering from homesickness, consider the type of advice that would benefit her most. Some children may require kind words, texting or calling often for reassurance and the feeling of home. Others do better with a more hands-off approach, learning to be more independent when their parents don’t reach out all the time and refuse to let them return each weekend, forcing them to make friends and become acclimated to their new surroundings.
A Taste of Home
Although you may be trying to keep some distance, let your homesick college student know you’re thinking of her with a few surprise care packages. Pack a box with some photos from home, her favorite snacks and a few accents she can use to decorate her room. Arrange delivery of cookie gift baskets, flowers or a fruit of the month club to brighten her day. Sharing the snacks she receives may also be a good way for her to make additional friends.
Advise your child to get her mind off of home by getting immersed in her new surroundings. Although it might be difficult at first, suggest that she checks out the clubs on campus, volunteers in the area or gets a part-time job in her housing office, for instance. The activities will not only help keep her busy but may also help her meet friends and feel more a part of the community.
If you sense your child is truly unable to make the transition from home to school, insist that she seeks help. If she exhibits a personality change or stops going to class, for example, set up an appointment for her to speak with her counselor. Even a talk with someone experienced in the situation, such as the dorm resident assistant or a peer counselor will help determine if your homesick college student needs extra assistance.
Supportive gestures can give your child a boost of confidence without undermining his newfound sense of independence. Strike a balance between caring and overbearing to let him know he’s loved but also enable him to grow and experience life on campus away from your watchful eye.