9 Tips For Sending Your Kid Off To College

Sending your child off to college is an exciting time, but it’s also a stressful one. If you are the parent of a high school graduate planning to attend college in the fall, here are a few tips to make the process a bit easier for you and your child.

1. Start Preparing Early

Going away to college can be an overwhelming experience for parents and students alike, so it’s essential to start preparing early. Start planning and packing at least a few weeks before move-in day. Ideally, you should begin planning shortly after high school graduation to ensure there’s time to get everything in order. Make sure your soon-to-be college student has all the necessary items for the move, including clothing, toiletries, linens and towels. Also, ensure they have their phone charger and other essential electronics.

2. Pick Up a Candle or Scent Diffuser to Remind Them of Home

If your child is going to be living in a dorm room or apartment, it’s a good idea to pick up a few quality soy candles. Scented candles are a great way to remind them of home, and they will help create a cozy and familiar atmosphere. Three-wick candles are a great choice and creates an even burn throughout.

Not all residence halls allow candles. If this applies to your son or daughter, get them an electric candle warmer to heat the wax without a flame. Alternatively, give them a reed diffuser. These home fragrance products deliver constant fragrance for months without fire or electricity.

3. Prepare Yourself for Emotional Reactions

Your child may be excited about going off independently but nervous about making new friends and living away from home. Be prepared for any emotional reactions from your son or daughter — whether it’s excitement or sadness — by talking openly about how this change will affect everyone involved (including you). Expect to experience different emotions yourself too. Watching your child leave the nest isn’t always easy. Give yourself grace, and accept that whatever you feel during this time is completely normal.

4. Stock Them Up on Household Supplies

Whether they’ll live on campus or in their own apartment, you can’t send your kid off to college without sending them some household supplies they can use in their new home. Here are some ideas:

  • Laundry detergent, dish soap and paper towels (for cleaning)
  • Hangers (they’ll need these for all those nice, new clothes you likely bought them)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Shower caddy (for their shampoo, soap and other toiletries)
  • Bed sheets, pillows and blankets
  • Flashlight (for late-night study sessions and expected power outages)

5. Make Sure They Have Toiletries Too


While shopping for your kid’s essentials, ensure they have enough toiletries to last them through the first few weeks. It’s always smart to stock up on things like body wash, face wash and body spray before they leave home. In addition to helping them save money, stocking them up on their favorite products will make them more comfortable as they transition into college life.

6. Help Them Create a Budget

Sit down with your son or daughter, and talk about the importance of budgeting. You can help them create a realistic budget that will take into account their living expenses and other costs associated with college like textbooks or supplies. Make sure they understand how to save money so they don’t have to borrow from student loans or work multiple jobs to make ends meet. In the long run, it pays off financially if you can teach your kids how responsible they should be with their money while they’re away at school. Things like paying bills on time, keeping track of what they spend each month (and why), etc., are all things that will help them form good habits and a solid credit report for life after graduation.

7. Teach Them Basic Life Skills Before Moving Day

Before your child heads off to college, make sure they have some basic life skills like cooking and doing laundry. These skills will prove vital as they navigate their new independence.

  • Cooking

It’s not just about making something edible; it’s also about learning to be confident in the kitchen and experimenting with different foods to create healthy and satisfying meals. If you aren’t much of a cook (or if you just don’t like cooking), consider hiring someone who can teach your son or daughter how to cook simple meals. A cooking class could be a great high school graduation gift.

  • Laundry

If you’ve always done your family’s laundry, make sure your daughter or son knows how to do their own while they are at school. Even if they plan on bringing their dirty laundry home on the weekends, they might need to wash something on campus during the week. Having the basic skills will make the process much easier.

8. Trust the Process


College is a time of change, growth and discovery. Trust that your child is in the right place, and they will find their way with your support and encouragement. As a parent, it’s your job to let go of any need to control all aspects of your child’s life while they are away at college (or away from home). You did your best during their childhood years by providing them with love, guidance and structure. Now, it’s time to trust that they will make good decisions on their own while living away from home for the first time.

9. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Sending your child off to college is an emotional experience, so take care of yourself too. Allow yourself time to process your feelings, and don’t be afraid to seek support from family members, friends or a therapist if needed.


Sending your kid off to college is a huge milestone and can be overwhelming, but don’t stress! With these tips, you can help them feel prepared and ready for their new adventure.