You plan for your child to move away after they graduate from high school, but sometimes this point comes a little sooner than expected.
Whether they are on an exchange program or attending a boarding school, it can be difficult for you and your child to deal with this separation, but there are some things that you can do to make this period easier for everyone involved.
Send Video Messages
If you can FaceTime or Skype with your child, this can help them, but sometimes time differences or responsibilities can make this difficult to coordinate. If this is the case for you, consider sending them a surprise video montage made with messages from friends and family. This is especially good to celebrate their birthday when they might be feeling the most homesick. These videos will remind them of all the great people they have for emotional support.
Do Your Research
For whatever reason your child is away from home, the more you understand what they are experiencing, the more you can help make their experience a good one. If they are in another country, learn about the culture and what your child may be experiencing. If they are at a boarding school, connect with other parents or people who have been in a similar situation. Learning about their experiences can help you understand your child and what they are doing.
Send Care Packages
You can send a care package to your child each month to ensure that they feel loved and have what they need to get by on their own. Consider making cookies or treats that remind them of being home. You can also include chewing gum, cash, and medicine to ensure that they enjoy a bit of TLC. Make sure you take their luggage space and any customs that the package may have to go through into consideration. You don’t want the package to become a hassle.
Give Them Freedom
Allowing your child to make mistakes and learn how to navigate the real world will allow them to feel supported and respected as they leave home. Even though this may be earlier than you planned, you wouldn’t have let your child leave if you didn’t think they could make this a success. Make sure that they know they can always call home for help and then step back. The space to learn and grow on their own is going to be one of the most valuable things you can give your child.
If this is an extended situation, it may be a good idea to visit your child. Videos and care packages can only do so much, but an in-person experience will fill in those gaps. Scheduling visits and trips to visit your child will give you both something to look forward to in the future. Make sure you take lodging and any responsibilities your child may have into consideration, especially if you surprise them. They may not be able to drop school or work quickly if you show up unannounced.
Although it can be challenging to see your child leave home, there are ways to stay connected and support them while they’re away. With the right steps taken, you can help them to enjoy their experience and grow through this opportunity.