Parents_WeekendIt’s Parents’ Weekend at college, a time that can be fraught with danger for a traveling mom making her first foray to campus. TravelingMom is here to help.

A visit to Parents’ Weekend doesn’t have to be a disaster. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts (we’re not surprised to find that the list of don’ts is longer than the list of do’s) for a weekend you’ll remember forever and your child won’t be wishing he could forget.

DO:

  1. Come bearing gifts from home (home baked cookies are a huge hit)
  2. Listen – let them share every detail (good and bad) without making a quick judgment.
  3. Expect their life to be different than at home. It is their life, they have created the lifestyle they want in college.
  4. Bring $$$$ because they will suddenly turn from independent college student into dependent child.  
  5. Bring comfortable walking shoes – the elevators in the dorms are slooooow and the stairs are often quicker.
  6. Prepare to feel OLD!  You will see kids that you swear are in the 5th grade.
  7. Prepare yourself for all the exposed skin, smoking, drinking (etc.) stories, and basic freedom between the girls and boys on the same floor.
  8. Expect the rooms to be messy and not as hygienic as you had hoped.
  9. Expect to feel sad again when you are leaving them.  You had them in your sight and could share their life with them for a brief weekend and now you must leave them again.
  10. Relax and cherish the experience. The time goes by so quickly.

DON’T:

  1. Use the phrase “when I was in college”.  It’s very hard, but remember it’s not your experience, it’s theirs.
  2. Be shocked or act shocked if your child has put on some weight.
  3. Criticize.
  4. Start to clean up when you enter the room.
  5. Embarrass them by being loud or demonstrative around their friends.
  6. Insist on going to the restaurants you want to go to – let them entertain you with their favorite spot.
  7. Expect them to pay for anything.
  8. Forget to inquire about their classes – sometimes they want to show you their work and that can get lost in the business of the weekend.
  9. (Mother of a daughter) Push about “have you met any nice boys yet?”
  10. Lose sight of how hard the adjustment can often be for their first time away from home. They might not have accomplished everything you had hoped the first time you visit.
  11. Forget that you have raised your child to be a strong, sensitive individual and you have to let go a bit and be proud of who they are becoming.

Terry Jardine continues to add to the list of Do’s and Don’ts as she visits her two daughters at college.