How To Communicate With Your College Student


One of the most challenging parts of sending children off to college for the first time is the fear of losing daily contact. You may be scared that silence will stretch between you and your kid, but fear not because we know how to help you through that.

You have done your best raising them and helping them become their best version. Now it’s time to ensure healthy communication with them. Let’s go through the steps you can take to make that happen.

Your Child Is Off to College, Now What? Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty nest syndrome is a term used to define the common experience of feeling alone after your kids move out. Moving out to college represents a significant step in your kid’s life, and so does to you. To many parents, going through this shift can be difficult, and apart from the sense of loss, you will also be experiencing:

Why Is It Important to Communicate With Your Child While in College?

It is a universal truth that college is not easy. Despite the preparation you have gone through when deciding on and applying to a good college, your kid might still feel unprepared. That’s why creating a safe space for them is essential. And, since you will no longer be able to communicate face-to-face daily, you must ensure healthy communication through different platforms.

Even though they are now students preparing for an independent life, they are still your child. And as such, they will always look up to you and seek your validation, even if not directly. The importance of effective communication with your kid who’s in college should be highly valued. As such, the list of reasons why communication is essential for your child includes but is not limited to the following:

  • They will feel like they belong somewhere.
  • Effective communication leads to less anxiety.
  • Your support will help them do better in their studies.
  • They will feel less homesick.
  • Frequent updates will leave no space for worries.
  • You can advise them regarding specific situations.
  • You can create a healthy bond.

How to Stay Connected and Communicate Effectively With Your College Kid


Without a doubt, your parent-teen relationship will experience some natural changes. But with the right mindset and the proper approach, these changes will not leave a significant mark on your lives. And the final result will bring in front of you a responsible and well-mannered adult.

Here are some approaches you can use in the meantime to stay in touch with your children without invading their personal space:

Set expectations

It is natural for a parent wanting to call and talk with their kids daily or sometimes even more frequently. However, remember that they are on their journey and need more time to fulfill other tasks. Unexpected calls or visits can lead to unwanted situations. That’s why you need to set expectations, such as:

  • Talking about how often you’ll be in touch.
  • Asking your kids if they want to schedule a specific time to talk each week.
  • Setting up times and days.
  • Asking them if they would like to initiate the contact or not.
  • Resisting calling them without notice.
  • Make them feel welcome to reach outside the set hours and days.

Establish a mode of communication

After deciding the time and day, it’s time to set the preferred mode of communication. To do this, you must choose between texts, calls, or FaceTime. If you are still getting familiar with video chat platforms, ask your kid to introduce you to their favorites and also ask them to teach you how to utilize those tools. It might lead to a good bonding time before they leave, and you will be creating new memories.

However, you are not required to stick to only one mode of communication; if your child agrees, you can switch between different modes. A text might lead to a phone or video call. Just make sure they feel comfortable switching between modes.

Prepare for your conversation

If you have a topic you want to discuss, prepare beforehand. It is common to get lost in different subjects during the conversation; writing down the parts you want to tackle will help you stay on track. However, try not to turn this conversation into an interrogation. We don’t suggest strategizing every exchange with your student, but being prepared will leave no space for doubts.

Remember, a conversation is a two-way street


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Remember to balance talking and listening when preparing for your conversation. Your kid needs to talk and listen, and so do you. Even if you are having a hard time at work or home, your kid doesn’t need to know every detail. Taking up their talking time will make them feel unheard, or much worse, you will leave them worried about you after the call ends.

Here are a few essential tips for having productive conversations with your child:

  • Think of your conversation like a game of catch.
  • Make sure you are handing the conversation back to the child.
  • Avoid being long-winded or holding the ball of conversation longer than expected.
  • Do not interrupt their talk.

Remember, “no news is good news”

You might feel unsettled when you don’t hear from your child in a while. But as the saying goes, “no news is good news,” if you have not heard something terrible has happened, nothing has occurred. And if nothing wrong has happened, your student is doing well. Remember that when your child needs something urgent, they will call you immediately.

Visit on parent’s weekend but don’t surprise them

Another way to stay connected is to pay visits. You can take advantage of parents’ weekend, and they will most likely be excited to show you the place. Resist the feeling of going to their room and cleaning or restoring items to their move-in day condition. Instead, do the following:

  • Show up bearing gifts.
  • Tell them how proud you are of them.
  • Plan something your family loves to do together.
  • Leave a little something when you go.
  • Plan to attend an on-campus event.
  • Take photos.

Also, avoid unexpected visits. They probably have plans, so if you visit them unexpectedly, they might feel forced to spend time with you.

Be patient

Sometimes your student won’t feel the call or the talk; try not to get hurt. College life is challenging, and your harsh approach to their cancelation will be another reason for a possible breakdown. Instead, ask them if it would make them feel better to postpone the call. A positive approach will make them feel heard, and they will notice your support.


The whole process is as new to you as it is to your child. That’s why you shouldn’t expect everything to run smoothly. The best you can do is have a positive mindset for your child’s new experiences, communicate your needs, make them feel welcomed, and show them your unlimited support.

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