Following on from the advice from me and from some other parents in what to do when your teen starts university, my student daughter Izzy has written this post with her tips for parents who are going through this:
‘It’s that time of year again – up and down the country, parents are sobbing and university freshers are having the time of their lives. Mum’s already written an article with advice for parents of new students, but she asked me to write some tips for parents, from a student’s perspective.
Make sure you go to the supermarket with them
This probably seems obvious, but so many of my friends had no food whatsoever when they moved in to halls, and either had to spend their first few hours of independence trekking to the supermarket, or had to live off takeaways for a day or so. Seeing as you will have gone to their uni town in the car, it doesn’t take long at all to pop to the nearest supermarket and stock up with cupboard essentials and fresh food. Also make sure they have alcohol (if they drink it) and snacks, otherwise they will have to make a separate trip out before getting to know their flatmates and going to freshers events.
Defend them against fresher’s flu
Everyone, and I mean everyone, gets freshers flu. I personally was ill last year from mid-August until New Year, including a couple of chest infections and many missed lectures. Make sure to learn from my mistakes, and arm your children with fruit, vitamin C tablets, and anything else to boost their immune systems. For if the worst happens and they do get ill, make sure they also have cold and flu tablets, throat sweets, soft tissues and lots of blankets.
Leave as soon as possible
When I moved in, we first dumped all my stuff in my new room, then went for lunch and went to the supermarket. My parents stayed long enough to help me put my kitchen things in cupboards and to make my bed, and then they left. Unpacking takes a long time and it’s so much easier to unpack your own things so you can put it all in the places you’ll like: more hands helping just makes it all too complicated. I know you’ll want to hang around in case you’re needed, but you really won’t be (and if you are, we can phone you). Staying for ages is simply delaying the inevitable.
Just go – don’t cry
When you do go, just go. Everyone will be feeling sad, but it’s so much easier for your fresher child if you don’t cry in front of them. Put on a brave face for all of five minutes while you’re saying your goodbyes, and everyone will be much happier. You can cry as much as you like in the car on the way home, though!
Leave them a little present
My mum had popped a little present in one of my boxes and told me to open it when they left. It was just something small (a silly, funny book) but it made me smile to think she’d been thinking of me and it felt like I had a little piece of her in my new room. When we’d been going around the supermarket once we arrived, she had also picked out a cushion for me to have. Other good, small presents to give to students are electric candles (most halls don’t allow real ones), room diffusers and photos.
Don’t ring – wait for your child to phone you
Freshers week is busy, busy, busy. Your child will be out most of the time, meeting new people and getting to know their university and new town or city. It’s nice to text to keep in contact but make sure you don’t call or facetime until your child phones you. They’ll of course want to tell you all about the new things that they’ve been doing, but they will want to do this in their own time, when they know they actually have a good chance to phone home. If you ring them otherwise, it will probably be at a time when they’re busy and your conversation won’t really amount to anything. Remember: if it takes them a while to ring, that’s a good thing because it means they’re so busy they’ve forgotten to be homesick – it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about you!’
Over to you
If you have a child who’s starting uni, how’s it all going? Do you have any tips to add?