Going off to college is both an exciting and challenging time.  It is a period of transition, growth and changes for both students and their families.

Here are some suggestions for supporting your child at college:

Stay connected: Even though your child may express the need to be independent, he/she still needs to know that you are available to talk about normal events and difficult issues. So, discuss with your child a reasonable plan for you to stay in touch on a regular basis whether it’s through writing, emails, texting, skyping or over the phone.

Allow some space: Give your child some room to get settled into their new life.  Let your child set the priorities for some conversations. Ask open-ended questions and give him/her room to explain him/herself to you.

Discuss expectations: Don’t wait until there is a problem to talk about what you expect. Set up some time to talk to your child and agree on expectations, e.g., how often you expect to be seeing or speaking with him/her, money matters and so on. Negotiate a realistic plan.

Be realistic about college life: College life is quite hectic and most students find their time crammed because of numerous academic and social obligations. Plan in advance so the time that you have becomes meaningful. Take the time to remind your children to take care of themselves physically and emotionally as well as academically. A balanced life that includes work, play and rest is essential to a healthy student.

Pick your battles: Conflicts are a part of the normal parent-child relationship. Sometimes it is ok to agree to disagree. However, when issues do arise, you may want to prioritize what’s really important to you and decide which issues you are willing to let go.

Encourage your child to make use of Rutgers resourcesRutgers is a big and oftentimes confusing place.  However, Rutgers also offers numerous resources to enhance your child’s experience while in college. You can help your child by suggesting various resources when you think it’s appropriate.