College Parent Tips

How to handle the I want to come home phone call

how to handle a homesick college student

It is that time of year when midterms are in full swing, and college students are juggling a large amount of stress. Students will handle stress in different ways. Some will venture towards off-campus parties to let off steam, others will hit the gym for multiple hours per day, and others will have panic attacks and miss the comforts of home. This is when the “I want to come home” phone call will occur.

There are several reasons a student could become homesick, but stress is often the culprit. Homesickness occurs when a student misses the comforts of home which often makes the harder things in life more bearable. Not only does your student miss their parents, siblings and friends from home, they miss the comforts which go along with it such as hugs from parents, a favorite meal cooked on a hard day, their favorite spot on the sofa, and so on. These are the small comforts which often reduced stress for your student when they lived at home. Now that they are living on a college campus or in an apartment near their school, they no longer have the stress relieving comforts they grew up with, this can cause homesickness in your child.

The ”I want to come home” phone call is something colleges warn parents about the summer before their student starts freshman year. It is a common occurrence which may only happen during freshman year or could continue throughout your student’s college career. It all depends upon how they handle stress and their personality.

So, when this phone call happens, and your child is crying on the other end, how do you handle it? First off, stay calm. This is not the time to jump in the car or on a plane and rescue your child from school. This is a time to calmly ask questions to find out what really is causing their homesickness. Secondly, remind them of when you will see them again. Are you going to Parent’s Weekend or is fall or spring break coming up? These are occasions to remind them of how close in time it is when you will see them again.

Stay in close contact. If your child texts or calls you, reply back so they are assured you are there for them. Be the one they can count on to help them find ways to de-stress. Give them ideas such as taking walks, going to the gym, meeting up with friends for meals. All of these things can help alleviate stress.

Another way to help with that homesick feeling is to establish a routine at school which offers comforts for your student. Does you student have a favorite comfort food? Find a restaurant on campus or off-campus which your student can go to on weekends for comfort food. Put some extra money in their bank account so they can grab comfort food on Friday night, this way they won’t stress about using their laundry money for a meal off campus.

Get involved at school. The easiest way to ward off homesickness is to make new memories. Join clubs and attend on campus activities. This is a great way to make new friends and find activities away from academics which will help alleviate stress and make your child forget how much they miss home.

Keep them involved with the family. Have a group chat where you can share good news with the family. Pick a night when your student can Facetime or Zoom with the family and catch up, as well as share their life on campus. One reason your student can feel homesick is feeling left out. Make sure they know they are still part of your family and are involved in your family life. Don’t let them become a stranger.

Things you can ship to your student when they are feeling homesick:

When your student is upset, stay calm and remind them of these ways to ward off homesickness and relieve stress. It will help your student feel more at home at school. They may still miss you, depending on their personality, but if you can support them emotionally and stay calm, you can help give them the tools to find their own way in their new environment; even it lasts all four years!

Midterms care package ideas for college students

Midterms care package ideas from top left: Squishie / coffee candy box / chocolate truffles / room diffuser / pillow spray / coloring pens / coloring book / chocolate biscuits /

Can you believe it is already time for midterm exams? It may seen like you just dropped off your student in their college dorm, but they are already half-way through the semester or quarter! This means stress is kicking in, and your child is having possible panic attacks. You may already have received a phone call where your child has expressed how stressed out they are. Never fear, my care package ideas post is here!

Since you cannot take your child’s midterm for them, and you are not there to give them the mommy hug which makes everything better, the next best thing you can do is send a little box of love from home. I love wrapping up a few items which help relieve stress, and also to show some love from home. You can easily put together a small box, which is easy for your college student to carry from their commons area, back to their dorm room.

One of the big things college students miss when they are away from home is you! Some kids will admit it, while others will not, but they all miss you! One thing I have noticed, and spotted, in several dorm rooms are squishmallows. You may think squishies are for little kids, but they are not! College students love having multiple squishmallows in their dorm room. They offer comfort and a soft hug. While this can never replace a mommy or daddy hug, it does offer a form of comfort when your student is feeling stressed-out, sad or homesick. A new squishie will be a huge form of comfort during midterm exams. I love this one which is wearing a beanie! Since the weather is cooling off, your student will appreciate that you sent them a squishie with proper attire.

Fragrance is a great way to create a calm environment. This lavender pillow spray will help introduce a calming scent into your students study area, allowing them to be able to lower their stress level. Love that!

Coloring is a form of relaxation and this coloring book for adults will allow your student to escape from their stress and enter a creative world. The use of a coloring book is the perfect 30-minute study break, especially when your student is feeling overwhelmed! This set of pens will help them color away!

Lastly, something tasty is in order! These coffee candies and these chocolate boxes are the perfect treat for your student. Yummy!

Shop midterms care package ideas for college students online:

Which items will you place in the midterms care package you send to your college student?

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck on exams!


Should you go to parents weekend?

Treat your student to a meal at a restaurant and give them a break from dorm food

There is a question many parents of college students, especially first year college students, asks themselves. Should you go to parents weekend? (also referred to as families weekend, or parent and family weekend, at some universities)

Most colleges offer a weekend of activities for parents and families roughly six weeks into the first semester or quarter of the fall term. This is about the time when many students become homesick, are stressed out from mid-terms, and/or simply miss their parents. It also goes the opposite way where parents really miss their children! If you are like me, you started to miss your child at drop-off, before getting in the car, or the boarding the airplane home.

A parents weekend is a great time to visit your child, as long as you understand they cannot spend every waking moment with you. This fun-filled weekend is smack in the middle of mid-terms. Your child will likely have a big exam to study for, or have other activities they need to attend to such as club meetings, practices, work shifts, or volunteer duties. You will need to be patient and supportive of your child, and speak with them before-hand as you plan the schedule for the weekend; especially if you are making dinner reservations or there are ticketed events on campus which need to be paid for in advance.

The itinerary for parents weekend compensates for this conundrum by offering sessions for parents which you can attend while your child is busy. You can learn more about the degree your child is studying, learn about school traditions, find out about extra-curricular activities your child might be interested in, find ways for parents to be involved in booster activities etc., learn about on and off campus housing, and more. Save the fun stuff such as a tour of the football stadium, tour of all the haunted spots on campus, etc. for when you your student can go with you. These are fun bonding moments and things they might not do on their own when you aren’t there.

So, the question remains, should you go to parents weekend? Yes and no. Yes, if your child can carve out the time to spend with you, no if they have a huge mid-term and you don’t need to attend any of the sessions offered for parents. If you don’t go to parents weekend, find a weekend which works for your child and visit them at that time. This will allow you both to have fun. If your child has a huge exam on Monday and you flew across the country for parents weekend, your student will feel obligated to spend time with you and this could cause undue stress. So, before booking those tickets, speak with your student first to make sure parents weekend fits into their schedule.

Parents weekend is not just for first year parents, it is something you can attend every year until your student graduates. It is also the perfect excuse for visiting your student without looking like a helicopter parent. I love parents weekend for that reason! Haha

This is also a great time to bring your student a gift such as a squishie or homemade cookies. It is also about halfway between drop-off day and thanksgiving break, so the timing of parents weekend is genius.

Shop college student gift ideas online:

So, should you go to parents weekend? My short answer is yes, unless your student has a huge exam or other conflict, then, find another weekend where you can visit and enjoy some time with your child.

Thanks for stopping by!