It can be hard for a parent to watch their child go away to college, but while some adolescents eagerly transition into college life, others have a much rockier time. It can be very hard to talk to your child and find that they are not thriving, and even harder if it seems like it is really affecting their mental health. If this is a concern for you, here is how to help your homesick college student.
Send Care Packages
If your child is having a hard time adjusting to college life and is missing home, then it’s always a good idea to send a care package every so often. In the care package you can include one or two gifts that might make college easier like an external hard drive or a few scarves for the cold weather. You can then add nostalgic items too by putting together a small photo album, including small trinkets that have sentimental value, or even adding silly things like stuffed animals or a blanket. Sometimes a little difference like that can mean the world to a college student.
Schedule Phone Calls
One thing that can be difficult about having a child who is homesick while away at college is that they can start to call frequently and out of the blue. If you want to make them feel like they can connect with you regularly and for a long period of time, then you want to set aside some time for a weekly or bi-weekly phone call. If you’re child wants to talk more than 3 days per week, then you may want to try and set barriers or consider other ways to help acclimate them to college.
Rather than allowing your child to come home too often, it might be better for you to go visit them. That way, they can feel the comfort of spending time with you and you can observe the people in their lives and better appreciate the busy schedule that they manage. This can often be very enlightening and can help you to advise your child when they come to you for support. If you have a dog, then letting your child visit with the dog is a great way to ease stress and cure a bit of homesickness.
Let Them Take a Break
If you’ve tried all of the above and your child is still not doing well in school, then you may want to let them come home and take a break. Some schools even allow students to go home and study online instead of being on campus. If, for example, they attend University of Maryland, they could still continue to earn University of Maryland’s best online mba from the comfort of your own home. If your child is truly happier at home and seems to function better, then you may as well bring them back and then approach the possibility of therapy to get to any deeper issues that may be at hand.
Find a Counselor
If your child is really suffering and you don’t know what to do, you may want to find a counselor or therapist for them to talk to. There’s a chance that their school may already offer mental health services, but it they don’t then you should be able to find a local therapist at a reasonable price that can help.