Mom and Dad Go to College
Now that you and your child are living in separate residences, keeping the lines of communications open is vital to maintaining and even improving your relationship. This doesn’t mean calling, texting, e-mailing and trekking to campus for lunch multiple times a week – quite the opposite, actually. You may think constant contact is the only way to keep abreast of what’s going on with your child but moderation is key, especially when it comes to campus visits.
Your child is trying to find their own way in a completely new environment and they won’t be able to do so with Mom or Dad showing up on their doorstep every time they turn around. We’re not saying campus visits are forbidden; what we are saying is if you want to see your child in person, a well-planned trip is much better than a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants one. Here are some suggestions for not only when to go but what to do and how long to stay.
Most schools schedule a Parents’ Weekend at the beginning of each semester, after students have had sufficient time to settle into their classes and living quarters but before the stress of midterms. This can be a great time to visit because you won’t have to plan anything besides how you’ll get there and where you’ll stay; the school takes care of everything else and you’ll have your choice of campus tours, faculty meet-and-greets, alumni brunches and athletic events to attend. Visiting on a different time would mean that you and your child would have to make all plans yourselves – a difficult task for freshmen and parents unfamiliar with the campus and its surrounding areas. There are other options, though.
Your trip to campus depends on a few factors: the school’s location, the weather and your child’s availability. You’re not going to want to schedule your visit two weeks after your child moves in because they’ll still be getting acclimated to their classes and roommates; you also shouldn’t plan a trip during finals week when your child is holed up in their room studying and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. But if not at those times, then when? And for how long? And what should you bring with you?