College Parent Tips

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!

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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!


What do you really need in your dorm room

Dorm essentials from top left: shower caddy / large squishy / desk lamp / blanket / window fan / travel iron / shower shoes / hot/cold air purifier fan /

It is that time of year when parents start shopping for their new college student’s dorm room. There will be huge shopping lists posted on blogs and handed out by advertisers, as well as your child’s own school. Some of these lists are great, while others are trying to sell you unnecessary items such as headboards, string lights which can damage walls, and other fluffy decorations.

Do you really need to replace the dorm room headboard? No. Your child will live in the dorm temporarily and the majority of those headboards end up getting thrown away at the end of the school year. That’s right! There is a giant trash area next to the dorm building filled with fluffy decorations that cannot be reused the following year. Don’t fall for it. You DO NOT need to buy your child a fancy headboard!

When you receive these lists, sort through them. What is necessary and what is fluffy. Stay away from fluffy. You can end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on decorations which might damage the walls of the dorm room, and/or end up in a landfill at the end of the school year. Don’t do it. Just say no.

The first things you should pack are things your child needs to survive at school for roughly nine months. Your child may or may not rent an apartment their second year of school, so investing in too much for the dorm room will be a waste of money. If you think you need to buy drawers and other forms of storage, you’re bringing too much to school. You don’t need drawers, shelves, and shoe racks. Leave the extra stuff at home.

Here is a small, capsule list of what you really need in your dorm room.

Bathroom essentials: You should make sure your child has all of the necessary toiletries s/he needs to survive such as toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, soap, towels, etc. In addition to these products, your student will need two important items; a shower caddy and shower shoes. A shower caddy that hangs on a hook is ideal so that it does not touch the nasty floor in the bathroom or shower. Your child will also need, and I mean NEED, shower shoes. Don’t buy shower shoes with holes that allow nasty water to get into them from the floor. You need shower shoes that allow the water to run down to the floor. I highly recommend the pair pictured above. DO NOT go into the bathroom, especially the shower, without shower shoes.

Fans: It does not matter if your child is attending school in a warm or cool climate, they will need a fan. Older dorm buildings will often have radiators which are very old and difficult to control. The room can get hot, dry, and stuffy. A fan is essential. I recommend a window fan, especially if your dorm does not have AC, and also a desk fan. A hot/cold air purifier is a great option where there are a lot of pollutants and wildfires.

Blanket: Whether your student attends college in a warm or cool climate, they will need a blanket. I recommend a medium weight blanket which can carry them throughout the school year.

Mattress: The dorm mattresses are gross and uncomfortable. You will need to get your student a mattress cover which zips up and protects your child from the cooties within the dorm mattress. These mattresses are also uncomfortable, so a good gel topper will add comfort and help make the bed cozy for your student.

Desk Lamp: Most schools have built-in lighting, but it never seems to be bright enough. I recommend getting your student an inexpensive desk lamp. The one featured above is the same one my daughter uses in her dorm room. It has places for pencils and also a port for plugging in your phone charger. She loves this lamp!

Travel Iron: A large iron and board is too bulky for a dorm room. A travel iron is easy to store and your student can use a beach towel on the floor as an ironing board. That being said, do you really think your college student will iron anything? Probably not. I would get the travel iron anyway. Maybe, just maybe, someday, they will iron something. A parent can dream, right?

Large Squishy: OK, this is not completely necessary, but a large squishy makes a bed cozier and offers something to hug; especially if your student feels homesick or stressed. All of the college kids these days have squishies in their dorm room.

First Aid Kit: You can purchase a ready-made first aid kit, or you can make one up yourself. I recommend getting a clear shoe box your student can look through. The clear shoe boxes are great because they can stack in the closet with your students’ shoes, or store easily on a shelf. Your first aid kit should include band aids, Neosporin, Bactine, cough drops, Advil (or your fav pain killer), a decongestant, and any other over the counter items your student needs if they get a cold or flu.

Well, those are the bare bones basics which every college student needs in their dorm room. The best checklist, out of all the ones your student will receive, is the one the school hands out. Even then, you can pair it down. The goal is to buy the least amount possible. In this dorm room essentials post, I am pointing out the most important things your student will need for their dorm room. Repeat after me, shower shoes!

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Congrats on your child’s new journey into college and let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for stopping by,


Dorm Essentials