After graduation, it’s obvious that students are transitioning from high school to college. But what about parents?

While that final summer is undoubtedly a special time for high school grads, it’s a unique season for parents as well. Here are some tips to help parents successfully navigate the transition between high school and college.

Be kind to yourself. High school graduation marks the end of an era in your family’s life. Your student may be leaving home to attend college, and even if they are only an hour or two away, you’re bound to feel their absence. We officially give you permission to feel emotional about this transition: chances are, your student is feeling a little emotional too.

Show excitement about your student’s future. Although you’re allowed to feel your feelings, make sure that you also generate some positive vibes about the next phase of your student’s journey. That might mean taking a visit to their future campus, going shopping for their dorm room together, or simply telling them that you’re proud of how far they’ve come and excited about what’s next.

Help your student get basic life skills under their belt. Senior summer is the perfect opportunity to help your student master the basic life skills they will need to live independently in college. This includes household tasks such as laundry, cleaning, and meal prep, but it also involves finance management, organizational skills, and emergency preparedness.

Be open to multiple methods of communication—and varying frequency. When you live in the same home, it’s easy to talk to your student. But once your student is off at college, don’t expect a phone call every day. Does your student use video chat, texting, or a messaging app? Try to meet them where they are, and you’ll find you get much more frequent contact with them. Plus, asking them for help with new technology is a fair trade for all those life skills you’ve taught them!

Spend quality time together as a family. Whether it’s taking a vacation or simply gathering together for movie night, try to get your whole family in one place on at least a few occasions over the summer. This isn’t always easy with conflicting schedules, but the extra effort is worthwhile. You won’t have this opportunity as often once your student heads off to college.

Give your student room to breathe. Although you’re going to miss your student terribly, don’t smother them in their last few months of freedom! Avoid guilt trips and try to be reasonable about your student spending time with other people. Remember that your student is also saying goodbye to friends who may be attending other schools; just as your family’s dynamic will change after this summer, your student’s friendships will as well.

If you have questions about the college transition, connect with us to get some answers!