The dorm room is all set up, and you’re back home adjusting to your empty (or emptier) nest. College is an incredible time for your son or daughter to grow, both professionally and personally. So how do you keep in touch and also give them their space?

Finding that sweet spot of checking in on your kid while not being too overbearing can be a challenge. First, before you pack up the car and hit the road, ask your son or daughter what frequency and times of day s/he prefers. Many college-age students don’t mind a daily text outside of class, while others who are busier may prefer a morning call a few times a week. Find out what works with their (sometimes unpredictable) schedule and lifestyle!

Then, you may want to find inventive ways to keep the lines of communication open, so that they stay close with your family throughout the school year. Try out any of these thoughtful methods:

  1. Monthly updates from home in care packages: If you’re sending your kid’s favorite snacks and products through the mail, why not include some highlights from home? Make your own DIY mini photo album of what the family and hometown are up to as a nice keepsake. If you have younger children, include letters and gifts from them to keep the sibling bond strong. You could also include recordings of your best college advice, funny stories, and well wishes that they can listen to—great for when it’s hard to reach them on the phone.
  2. Group video chat: One-on-one Facetimes are great, but there may be a lot more people than just you who wants to see the student. Especially if you have family members all across the country, group video chat services like Google Hangouts and Houseparty will have everyone on the line in just a couple clicks. If you have a favorite sports team or television show you always watched as a family, consider video chatting during a game or new episode. It’s almost like you’re all in the same living room!
  3. Snapchat: Especially for college students that are far too busy for frequent, long catch-ups, Snapchat is a trendy way to get glimpses into their daily on-the-go life without being too invasive – and vice versa. You can also set up a Snap group for the family so all the photos and videos are in one place. Just don’t go overboard with the snaps you send – the phone notifications could get overwhelming, and come across as oversharing.

Back to school means it’s football season. Don’t start your tailgate without checking out our tips first →

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