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!