Do’s and Don’ts for the Summer Before Freshman Year
Some advice for parents on how to survive this anxiety-ridden couple of months.
No matter how excited or laid back your college-bound child seems about starting at Texas Tech in the fall, a level of anxiety sits below the surface. You’re probably dealing with similar feelings as well. As the parent, you can minimize your family’s apprehension regarding the coming changes. Here are a few tips on how:
Try to relax Remember you’re not the first family to experience a child going off to college. Haven’t all of your friends survived? Worrying wastes energy and will keep you from enjoying the summer. Let your children know it is natural to have doubts, to be unsure what their major will be or how they will adapt to college life. Express trust in your child’s ability to make the right choices when the time comes. Besides, you have a good 8-10 weeks before you need to pack up the car.
Allow your child plenty of time with their friends They’re going to miss you, but all they can focus on now is the fact that come fall, they won’t see their friends for months. Understand what they’re feeling, and make the most of the time they give you.
Teach your freshman how to do laundry, make a bed and clean a bathroom The last one may surprise you, but your child will end up in a suite with a bathroom they will share with one other person; they’ll be responsible for cleaning it. Instruct them now to save yourself from viewing a scary sight Parent’s Weekend. If you’re still washing their clothes and making their bed, now’s the time to pass the baton, whether they’re staying home or going away.
Focus on the important matters Start discussing how rules and expectations will change in the fall. Talk to your students about the ways that they would feel most supported during their time in college. Talk with your child about major topics: academic expectations, money matters, social choices and communication.
Guide, don’t direct. Rather than expressing your opinion about the best careers or academic choices, ask your child probing questions. When our children own their decisions, they will grow and mature.
Stay on top of emails from the college Encourage your child to do the same. Texas Tech as well as the Terry Foundation sends almost everything by email now, and a lot of those messages are time-sensitive.
If your student hasn’t set up their TTU email account, now is the time. Instructions HERE
Nag about getting ready for college Again, this goes back to the anxiety issue. Of course, once the back-to-college sales begin, usually in late July or early August, start shopping for the extra-long sheets, towels, etc. The point is, don’t make the whole summer about prepping to leave.
Take a "slow cooker" approach—make the preparation process last and linger. Don't procrastinate on buying and packing things so that you have a panicked surge at the end. Give your student time to process and mentally prepare for what is coming.
Insist on more family time You could make your child want to spend less time with you. Instead, plan for everyone to be a part of a couple of family dinners each week.
Continue family activities like going on vacation together, taking in a movie, or going to a ballgame or concert if that’s the normal dynamic for your household. Don’t suddenly add a bunch of events to make up for lost time because they’ll see right through that move.
Accept that the siblings might want some time together, too, without mom and dad.
Share your own anxiety or repeatedly mention how much you’re going to miss them You might make your kid feel guilty for going away and that’s not fair. Remember, as parents, our job is to raise our children to be able to leave the nest someday.
Announce your plans to turn their bedroom into your exercise room At this point in the process, kids want to know that home will still be home when they come back. They need that sense of security.
Plan to move, unless your job requires relocation Think about this rationally. If you move out of town once your child heads off to college, what will life be like for them when they’re “home” on breaks and summer vacation? They won’t have anyone to hang out with because all their friends will be somewhere else.
Take a deep breath. The summer before freshman year can be fun if you approach it correctly.
article from http://parentsguidetothecollegepuzzle.com/2012/06/07/dos-and-donts-for-the-summer-before-freshman-year/
While not the author of all of the posts, Heather Medley, the Terry Program Director at Texas Tech is the blogger of choice here.