As kids embark for college, we want to provide them some reminders of home for their dorm rooms. It’s not only for their benefit. As much as we want them to be happy and successful, we also want them to think fondly of the home we’ve provided them for the last 18+ years.
When I was a college freshman, my mom helped my roommate and I set up our dorm room. After her bargain hunting, we not only had matching comforters, but matching curtains as well. I don’t know what happened to my comforter, but twenty-years later, my roommate’s dachshund had possession of hers.
Now that my own nest is emptying, I get my mother’s urge to help set up my new home. In a way, it provided a piece of her—and reminded me that I had a loving home not too far away. Similarly, my roommate’s mother sent jars of Russian tea gave her warm reminders of home.
Great Reminders of Home
In a wonderful Huffington Post article, Starting College: A Guide for Parents, Marshall P. Duke advises,
What thoughts, feelings and advice do you want to stick? “Always make your bed!”? “Don’t wear your hair that way!”? Surely not. This is a moment to tell them the big things. Things you feel about them as children, as people. Wise things. Things that have guided you in your life. Ways that you hope they will live. Ways that you hope they will be. Big things. Life-level things.
Dr. Duke even recommends writing your student a letter to express these things.
Pictures and Mementos
Photos from home are great gifts. For my oldest son I got a cool photo frame. Being sneaky, I mixed family photos—including the dog—with photos of his best friends. I plan to do the same thing for my younger son next week.
If you’ve gotten your child decorative items for his or her room at home that they like—such as soccer flags or posters—encourage them to take them with them.
Lisa Hefferman recommends making cheat sheets for thing they’re not used to doing. This can include anything from laundry to setting up the wireless printer.
Medicine Cabinet in a Box
The University of Michigan (where my youngest is headed) recommends assembling a kit of over-the-counter meds that you usually have at home. Think about it. Most pharmacies’ selection of pain relievers and cold and cough remedies are overwhelming. In a small way, providing these medicines also allows us to “take care” of our kids even when they’re away. Throw in a thermometer as well!
Kids today are no different than we were. They love care packages!
Other ideas? Comment below!