Kids are to starting to leave for college. It can be stressful for families and the students (whether freshmen or returning). We have a short list of items that can make the process go more smoothly and help parents worry less about their kids being away on their own.
1. Use big bags to pack clothes, food, and most items like the ones found at Ikea. They are much easier to carry and can be packed more easily into a vehicle. Some are totes and some zip closed with handles and backpack straps!
2. Bring a small safe for emergency cash, copies of id, and any other important or valuable small items. The safe should have a way to be attached around a bedframe using a thick steel cable (not easy to cut) and stored hidden under the bed.
3. Make two copies of student id, driver's license, insurance cards, and social security card. One can be kept in the safe they bring with them and one at home. That way if the originals are lost or stolen, you and your kids have copies to help get them replaced.
4. Supply your student with a two to three 4x6 photos of family, pets, and/or friends in small frames to keep on their desk or bed table or hang on their wall. A little something to remind them they have support and love from those they left at home.
5. A Drink Test Kit to use when going to parties and/or bars. It's a good way to have a conversation about safety when drinking. Remind them to always keep hold of their drink, not to take drinks from others, and always have someone in the group who will be the responsible one to take them home if they can't drive or start to feel strange. (It's not just for young women...men need to be careful too!) See our Night Out Kits too.
6. Pepper Spray or Personal Panic Alarm to keep attached to their keyring or Finders Key Purse®. This should be kept handy when they need to walk to their dorm, apartment, car after a late class or nighttime meet-up with friends. Again, use this gift as a way to remind them to be aware of their surroundings and to always follow their gut instincts.
6. Tools or small tool kit. This should include a multi-tip screwdriver, pliers, removeable hooks & picture hanging strips, removeable masking tape, and if they brought a bicycle, a tool & patch kit for that too.
7. First Aid kit with things like ibuprofen/acetaminophen, a few different bandages in various sizes, antibiotic ointment, itch relief cream, burn cream, eye drops, hand sanitizer. There are many pre-assembled sets to be found but you can easily make your own customized to items you know your child will need and use. Another idea is to include a "thinking of you" note inside so when they open it to relieve a headache or fix up a minor cut, they will see your note and smile.
Going off to university is an exciting time but can also cause apprehension. Being prepared for the unseen bumps in the road, can make all the difference for everyone involved.