It has finally happened. Your not-so-little ones are off to college or university and have begun the process of building a life for themselves. However, just because they're out of the nest doesn't mean they don't need you! This article will help you create the perfect care package for their post-secondary experience to help them settle in, bring them comfort, and remind them that you're only a phone call away.
When you want to give your grown-up kiddo a little taste of home, add a few treats to your care package. Your child’s favourite foods can also bring comfort and joy when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or even homesick. Pack their favourite sweet snacks, savoury snacks, salty snacks and their favourite homemade food. A mug and their favourite tea/coffee/hot chocolate can be another great touch. Just make sure that whatever you pack is suitable for travel!
Adding a few personal hygiene products to your care package will not only offer you some reassurance that your child is taking care of themselves, but it will also remind them that you’re thinking of them and that their wellbeing is important. Providing their favourite deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, skincare products, shampoo/conditioner or body wash will remind them to take care of themselves between all the study sessions, hangouts, classes, parties and cramming.
Note: Don't forget to throw in a few reusable masks and bottles of hand sanitizer!
Most of us can remember how stressful that first cold or flu can be after leaving home when your parents or loved ones aren’t around to take care of you for the first time ever. Your care package should include vitamins, OTC pain meds, band-aids, cold medicine, vitamin C packets, hand sanitizer, essential oils, antihistamines, or any other item that will help them out when they’re hit with an unexpected illness or injury.
When you’re at a loss, and you want to make sure your care package contains something your child really wants, why not let them choose for themselves? Toss in a couple of gift cards for local drug stores, clothing stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, music cards like iTunes and Spotify, or anything else that they may need or want. Make sure there’s a mixture of practical needs and just-for-fun options for a rainy day, and your child will definitely thank you.
Although your child will (hopefully) be spending the majority of their time hitting the books, you should remind them that play and relaxation are still important, too. Your care package should definitely include a few of their favourite books, board games, video games, a deck of cards, some drinking games and other means of entertainment for them, their roommates and their new school friends!
Although you may not have the chance to take your child school shopping yourself this year, you can still bring back the magic of that annual shopping trip by sending them a lanyard, a USB drive, a notepad, a planner or agenda, some sticky notes, highlighters, pens, mechanical pencils + refills or even a stress ball. These are all essential school supplies for a college or university student. Stay away from bulky binders and duotangs.
Whether your child is staying in a dorm room or an off-campus apartment, this is the first space that they can truly call their own. Why not help them add a touch of personal style to the space? Slippers or flip-flops, some socks, a fuzzy blanket, some laundry detergent/pods, a diffuser or dehumidifier, a fan, string lights, a bulletin board, a whiteboard and some markers, a poster, a framed photo or some wall stickers are all great ideas to add to your care package.
Adding a single-person hammock to your care package is a great way to remind your child to relax every once in a while. Single hammocks can fit well into small spaces such as a dorm room, and your child can even bring them outside for an outdoor study sesh when the weather is nice. Not to mention, hammocks are also great for sleeping, reading and meditating.
Now that you’ve gotten all the staples, add a personal note to your care package as a final touch to let your child know that you’re thinking about them. This is especially important around midterms and exam time when stress levels will be at an all-time high. A little pep talk will be sure to bring a smile to their face and remind them that you’ll always be there when they need you most.
Your nest may be empty, but your children will never stop needing you. College or university can be a stressful time, especially when your child is learning to navigate adulthood and be on their own for the first time. Send them a care package they’ll actually want by following the handy tips listed above, and they’ll be calling you in no time asking when the next one will arrive!