When we dropped our oldest daughter off at college for her first semester, we wondered how to maintain a long distance relationship with her. We knew that our relationship with her would change, but we hoped that wouldn’t mean she wouldn’t want to communicate with us much. We worked on some ways to stay close, and so far, they have turned out well.
One of the best things we’ve used is video chats. It’s really cool to be able to talk face to face, although sometimes it’s like watching a movie where the sound doesn’t match up with the picture! Skype and Facebook are both good tools to use for video chats.
Before we took her to college, we set up the expectation that she would call us at least once a week. So far, that hasn’t been a problem, because she actually likes to talk to us! Texting has been her favorite way to communicate for quick questions or short chats, and I often get several texts a day. That helps me to feel like she’s not so far away.
College students like to get good old-fashioned mail, too. Care packages, funny cards, and letters are great reminders that you’re thinking of them. We try to send our daughter something a couple times a month.
Of course, nothing beats the opportunity to see your college student in person. This will be more challenging with students farther away from home. We have three campus visits planned this fall: one for a cross country meet, one for Parents Weekend, and one for a musical our daughter will be in. There are also three opportunities for her to come home: fall break, Thanksgiving break, and Christmas break. I made sure to save some vacation time from work to use over these breaks, so that we can spend time together.
Try out these tips for how to maintain a long distance relationship with your college student and see what works best for you. Different forms of communication will work better for different students, depending on whether they like to just text, talk on the phone, read letters, or get the whole video experience. Make the most of the time you do get to spend together, whether in person or not, and enjoy this new phase in your relationship with your son or daughter.
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