Help your homesick kid with these tips

By Kelly Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

Every parent pictures dropping off their kid at college just like in the movies: You leave them with their cookie-cutter roommate, and as you wave goodbye, you watch them head off toward the Main Quad to go throw around a frisbee.

No parent wants to think their happy kid will suffer from homesickness, but it’s important to know what to do if instead of them waving goodbye to you with a smile, the wave is accompanied with tears.

Homesickness is something no one thinks could happen to them or their child, but when it hits, it hits hard.

While you’re still there

If the homesickness starts to creep up on your student before you’ve even unpacked the entire car on move-in day, try to get them thinking about other things. If want to be encouraging and tell them how much fun they’ll have at college, that’s fine, but try not to dwell on this. Instead, try to take it a little bit at a time and keep the conversation light: Talk to them about how they want the room organized or how you can go grocery shopping once you’re done unpacking. Another helpful tip if they’re starting to get really overwhelmed is to plan a weekend you’re going to come visit or when they can come home for in the near future. It gives them something to look forward to and some motivation to make it through the first few weeks.

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    The first week of school

    Start getting prepared for a few tearful phone calls consisting of your kid bargaining with you on what jobs they could get without a college degree and begging you to buy them a ticket for the bus home for the weekend. Make sure they know you’re there for them, this is the first week for them and change is hard. A good way for them to know you’re thinking of them is to send them some cookies or their favorite snack, and let them know they have a package coming so they have something to look forward to.

    After a few weeks

    If you find your student still calling you in the middle of the night grief-stricken and begging to come home, you’re going to need a different approach. You can always encourage them to go to the Counseling Center. That way they have someone they can talk out how they’re feeling. You should also encourage your student to join new groups and activities; it’ll get them going somewhere and hopefully help them make some new friends.

    Overall, college can be very intimidating, and everyone gets a little homesick once in a while. Make sure to have a plan in case your child finds themselves feeling too far away from home.

    Try to keep reminding them things will get better, and hopefully college will become their best four years.

    Kelly is a sophomore in Media.

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