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How To: Help Your Kids Pack for College

by Louise | August 23rd, 2010 | Teen Perspective

Helping your child pack and subsequently move into college can be a huge ordeal. The whole process is typically very stressful, and that’s coming from the teen perspective. Here are a few tips to make the process run as smoothly as possible:

  • Make checklists and keep questions to a minimum. Start a checklist at least a week before your child heads off to college. Many colleges actually provide checklists that you can use as a basic template. This checklist can constantly be edited. You might want to make some additions, but your child can also chose to eliminate items he or she finds unnecessary, without a huge verbal discussion about it. This also reduces the all-too-familiar question, “Did you remember to pack your [insert item here]?” The beauty of a checklist is that it’s all on paper; fewer arguments arise.
  • Let your child control most of the packing. Parents might want to make the entire list themselves, to ensure that their child has everything he or she needs, but this really won’t work. Teenagers are bound to refuse to bring a few of the items that their parents suggest; let them be. They might regret their decision later, but allow them make that mistake and call it a learning experience.
  • Buy snacks. Pack snacks, but also have snacks to eat while you’re packing. A little bit of food and energy goes a long way. It helps reduce the stress that’s building up. A teen can become very frustrated trying to cram their entire wardrobe into a suitcase, but a simple smoothie can hold those anxieties at bay. It’s comfort food; you know how it works.
  • Keep in mind that your child is as anxious as you. Tensions might be running high, but don’t take it personally. You’re nervous? You’re a bit stressed? So are we. Try to remember this as the process continues. You don’t want to say good bye in a bad mood.

Keep these few tips in mind and you’re well on your way to helping your child make a (relatively) smooth transition into college. Good luck!

  1. Sarah says:

    Awesome start. I came across this and couldn’t help but commenting. I just wrote an article on the top ten things for college dorms: http://www.squidoo.com/top-ten-college-dorm-essentials

    Right along the same lines, hopefully between our two articles we’ll cover a good chunk of things kids will need to bring.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. There’s also a good post from the TestSoup blog today with some hints and tips for going back to college after a summer off:


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