From laying the groundwork in the teenage years to settling them into their dorm for their freshman year of college, it’s easy for parents to start feeling anxious, wondering if they’ve prepared their child for all that lies ahead.
It’s exciting, for sure, but sending a child off to college for the first time can also feel like a lot. In writing about preparing your teen for college over the last few years, I’ve compiled quite a few posts that span the spectrum on the topic. So, I’ve rounded them all up and grouped them here for easy reference.
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What Kids Need To Know Before They Go Off to College
For 18 years, you’ve been teaching, leading, and guiding while hoping and praying that you’ve adequately prepared them for life beyond the nest. And while you can and should be intentional in those efforts, I hope you also know there is no way to plan for every contingency. Life is messy. You’re not perfect, and neither is your child(ren).
When my kids were in high school and looking ahead to college, I gleaned so much information simply by listening to the parents ahead of me in my parenting journey. And I hope that’s what you’ll find in the following posts.
Some come from my personal experiences, while others I’ve written based on feedback from a variety of sources, including parents who have walked the path before you.
- Start With Letting Go: One Important Way to Help Your Teen
As parents, we spend a lifetime learning to let go of our children. And it becomes increasingly difficult as they venture into their teens. However, we need to be taking intentional steps to loosen our grip as we prepare them for life beyond high school. And one of the ways we can help our teens is by equipping them to be academically independent.
- Are They Ready? 10 Basic Life Skills Your Teen Needs
When the time comes to leave the nest, will your teenager be ready? Help set them up for success by teaching them these basic life skills. And heads up, you might get your toes stepped on because there are a few things I’d encourage you to stop doing for your teen (at least on a regular basis).
- What I Wish I Would Have Known
Parenting college-aged kids adds a whole new dimension to your prayer life. While sending a child to college can be a bittersweet experience, most parents are buoyed by the excitement their child feels in anticipation of that new start. When asked, “What do you wish you had known?” my answer probably isn’t one most expect. But somewhere in the midst of all the excitement, planning, and preparation, we need to discuss the depth of the transition.
Off to College: College Packing Lists and More
In the posts below, you’ll find helpful hints for getting your child ready to go off to college. From making decisions about what your soon-to-be college freshman “actually” needs for their college dorm to getting it all packed up and ready for move-in day, I think you’ll find the posts below helpful.
- Girlfriends Guide to Dorm Shopping
A college packing list for girls and a college packing list for guys can look vastly different, but there are some commonalities. Here’s a list of dorm essential dos & don’ts from parents who’ve been there and done that! Included is a printable college dorm checklist that covers the basics.
- How to Pack for College in 6 Simple Steps
Moving a child to college is a huge transition — for everyone. But don’t let figuring out how to pack and organize those college dorm essentials become something that elevates your stress. Yes, it can seem like a lot, but knowing how to pack for college doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. By following just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to simplify and organize the process!
- How To Create an Amazon Wish List
It may seem like a silly “how-to,” but knowing how to create an Amazon wish list will save you some guesswork if you can get answers to a few simple questions upfront. It only takes a few simple steps to create and then share an Amazon wish list, but it definitely can take the stress out of buying gifts (or creating care packages) for your young adult children!
- Hospitals, Banks & Colleges: 3 Places Parents Need Young Adult Power of Attorney Forms
As you take care of all the things, big and small, getting your child ready for school, don’t overlook a set of important legal documents that every parent should have in place for their young adult student – a young adult power of attorney package. MamaBear Legal Forms is recommended by Dave Ramsey and offers a quick and easy way to get POAs for your college student. From now until August 21, you can use “Trisha20” to receive 20% off.
The College Send-Off
Ok…the day is finally here. Your emotions likely will be all over the place because dropping your child off at college is exciting and sad all at the same time. But let me just offer you a few words of encouragement: You will be okay, and so will your child.
It’s not a season of loss; it’s simply a season of transition…and a wonderful one. Celebrate the moment. Come prepared for a few tears. And take to heart of few of the ideas from the posts below for making the experience
- Dropping Kids Off at College: Tips for Smooth Transition
Dropping kids off at college can be an emotional rollercoaster. So here are 5 helpful tips from parents who have “been there, done that.” While it might not be easy, there are a few things you can do to make it easier.
- 12 Encouraging Bible Verses for College Students
Here you will find biblical advice to encourage your college student as they take these transformative steps toward independence. College can be filled with fun and excitement, but it also can present students with unexpected challenges and pressures. Allow these verses to help you share words of truth with your student.
- A College Freshman’s Advice for Parents
Written by a young man who just completed his freshmen year of college, he makes some great points about involvement and includes some encouraging words for parents.
Empty Nest Parenting
Parenting adult kids is such a wonderful and strange experience. As your kids are taking those important steps toward independence, there’s a lot to be said for sometimes being blissfully unaware. But it also can be hard, especially when you see them making decisions you know can lead to hurt and hardship.
Learning when to speak up and when to remain silent becomes a balancing act. But I think my prayer life deepened when I sent my kids off to college because I realized how little control I had over so many things. It was a season of spiritual growth where I learned lessons of trust and surrender and love.
But oh my stars, the joy of having adult conversations with your now young adult children! What a gift…at least most of the time:)
- Learning To Trust God With Your Children
Trusting God with our children doesn’t end when they turn 18. As believers, we know the wisdom and truth behind placing our trust in God rather than ourselves. But when it comes to trusting God with our children, there’s often a tension there, and as parents, we can struggle. Praying through Bible verses about trusting God helps us release our grip and surrender our fears.
- Bible Verses to Encourage Parents
Parenting can be tricky and wonderful all at the same time. When faced with uncertainty, fears, and doubts, run first to God’s Word for encouragement, wisdom, and guidance.
- Tips for Empty Nesters | How To Prepare for the Empty Nest
From the site “EmptyNestBlessed,” Suzy shares four tips to help you prepare for the empty nest. If you are sending your first off to college, the empty nest might be a few more years down the round, but I think it’s important to start thinking and planning for it.
Care Packages: a Loving Touch From Home
And now for some fun! A college care package might seem like a small thing, but your student will LOVE receiving a surprise package from home. I have a tendency to overthink things like this, so I appreciate the inspiration and helpful tips and tricks in the posts below.
But remember this, sending a care package your college student will love has nothing to do with how crafty you can make it. My cousin sent my son a package of freezer pops during his sophomore year, and let me tell you, that unexpected surprise made his day.
- Show ‘em the Love: 30 Ideas for Creating College Care Packages
As mid-terms and finals start ramping up, sending your college student a care package is a loving touchpoint and reminder of home. Whether you choose simple or elaborate, here are 30 ideas to include in a college care package.
- College Care Packages for Finals
As spring finals approach, sending a college care package to your student provides the perfect encouragement to finish strong! Starting with just a simple theme (and mostly snacks), you’ll be able to replicate these ideas in no time at all!
- DIY Care Package: Simple Steps to Cute & Clever
Cute, clever, and most importantly, simple: here’s a quick and easy How-To for creating — and shipping — your next DIY care package. Includes theme ideas and a shopping list!
- Care Packages
Laura with “Almost Empty Nest” has so many cute ideas for care packages of all kinds! So if you are looking for some additional inspiration for your college care packages — or really care packages of all kinds — she offers some fabulous ideas.
Coming Home from College
They might be gone, but it’s likely not for good. In sending your child off to college for the first time, little thought is given to their return home, but let me tell you, it’s worth some thought and conversation!
- Home for the Holidays: Navigating Your College Kid’s Return
It’s their first extended stay home from college, and you can’t wait. But expectations don’t always match reality. Here are some ways you can be prepared.
So, there you go! Wherever you are in this journey — whether that’s just on the edge of the teen years, getting ready to send your first child off to college, or facing down the empty nest — I hope you’ll find some useful information to support you along the way.