There’s one big concern that parents have when a child leaves for college: “Will they stay in touch with me?” Almost every parent worries their son or daughter will just decide not to call again because: 1) he has gained independence or 2) he will simply forget to call amid the hustle and bustle of his freshman year. Thank goodness it doesn’t play out exactly like that. Yes, the amount of communication will probably change. Your student will not call you every hour on the hour – but with some planning, you can set up a great plan to keep in touch.
How will this work? Here are some tips on what to do and what NOT to do when it comes to staying connected.
1) Write letters to your student (but don’t expect one in return) – Ge probably gets hundreds of emails each day, but an actual card or letter from home will really stand out – and it will be a great boost for your student. Letters and cards are a great way to keep students up-to-date on what’s going on “back home.” You can also send articles from the local newspaper, info about friends and photos. Encourage other family members to write letters also.
2) Call – but don’t expect him to answer every time you call, or to return the call in a timely manner. Students are at college to get an education… which means they are often in class or studying with classmates… which means they can’t answer every call right away. If your student is as involved as you want him to be, he could be at a meeting or hanging out with new friends when you call. College means a busy schedule, but you can be sure your student will call you back as soon as he gets a chance. And whatever you do, don’t be that parent that panics and calls the Dean of Students claiming your student is missing because you haven’t talked to them in an hour. (Yes, it really happens!)
3) Text your student – Texting is the quickest way to get in touch with someone without being to intrusive. Again, understand your student is busy with classes, studying and other activities so he might not text back right away.
4) Post on his Facebook page but NOT too much – The last thing you want is your student to feel like you’re “stalking” him on Facebook or keeping track of his every move – but quick, supportive messages will be appreciated.
5) Plan a weekly phone call – Set up a specific time each week that you catch up, and even though you’re busy too, try your best to arrange this call around the student’s schedule. If you set a time, don’t worry too much if your student is late calling or forgets. He’s busy – but he will call.