• Christine Roslund, MFT, CPC

Make the Most of the Time with Your Kids Before They Leave for College

The clock is ticking; the days, hours, and minutes are passing, and soon it—perhaps your most dreaded moment—will be here, filled with a large amount of pride and mixed emotions…your baby is going off to college. It’s okay, you are going to get through this transition! But for now, let’s concentrate on the time you have left to spend with your young adult and what you might do to make the most out of it.

For starters, it may be helpful for you to think about the three favorite things you like to do with your child who will be going away soon. Really think about your top three ways you love to spend time with them. One of my clients realized she had always loved sharing back-to-school shopping trips with her daughter. Choose at least one of those things if it is feasible, and invite him or her to do it prior to leaving. Let them know that it is important to you for them to make time for this. Schedule the time in your busy calendars. If you can fit in the other activities, do so.

Ask your young adult about any requests of you regarding what they would love to do with you before they leave. If there are several things particularly special to them, make sure you schedule time to do those things as well. This will help both of you as the time nears to make you both feel like you’ve had some good closure, connection, and honoring of each other.

During these special times, there may be opportunities to say anything you’d like them to know before they leave. For example, you may want them to know how truly proud of them you are, that you really want them to know that you are there for them if they ever need you, or that you believe in them and know that they are going to do the very best they possibly can!

These thoughtful gestures can truly make a huge difference when it comes to actually stepping into the launch process, building stronger internal resources that both you and your young adult can draw on when you need them in the future. Invite your kids to participate in planning these activities, and it will mean the world to them as they are having a lot of ambivalent feelings going on about now. This can help you all start embracing your time together and start separating…together.

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