Connecting with Your College Student is Good
Has your favorite grandson or granddaughter gone off to college, away from home and away from you? Not to worry, there are many ways to stay in touch and keep up with your student.
Staying in touch with a college-age grandchild is good for both of you. HuffPost reports,” It’s safe to say that, no matter what the specifics are of the role in the grandchildren’s lives, researchers find that the role of grandparent contributes to an individual’s overall sense of identity and well-being by providing a strong sense of connection to the younger generation.”
Contact with the student grandchild is also important to the well-being of the grandparent. The American Sociological Association reports that grandparents and grandchildren have real, measurable effects on each other’s psychological well-being long into grandchildren’s adulthood. Grandparents who do not maintain contact with their grandchildren are likely to suffer a variety of ill consequences, including poor mental and physical health, depression and poorer quality of life.
Although intergenerational relationships are a two-way street, studies show that the “grand” is usually responsible for staying in touch with a student. College students are going through numerous changes in living environment, schedules, friends and more. It might take a little more effort on grandparents’ parts, but it will be worth it in the end.
Following are a few suggestions for staying in touch with your college student.
1. Send care packages. Do you and your grandchild share a love of baking? Send a box of his/her favorite cookies or bread. It is best to do so in the beginning of the week, so the box doesn’t sit in the mailroom over a weekend. Perhaps you and your grandchild share a love of a favorite sports team. A logo cap or t-shirt will brighten any student’s day. College students always can use quarters for laundry and gift cards for meals.
2. Make, and keep, phone dates. A phone call from a loved one can help a student through a bout of homesickness. Ask your student when the best time for you to call is and connect with him/her. Once a routine is established, the student will look forward to receiving the calls as much as you enjoy making them.
3. Be a good listener and sounding board. Sometimes a college student needs to vent or to share their thoughts with someone they trust. Be that someone. As much as you want to help and offer solutions, do your best to listen and allow your grandchild to bounce ideas off you.
4. Write letters. Although it may seem old-fashioned, college students still open their mailboxes hoping to see a card or letter inside. This is a great opportunity for grandparents to share current experiences, interesting stories or photos with their grandchildren.
5. Communicate electronically. Texting and emailing might be the most convenient way for a student to respond to your messages. If you aren’t technically savvy, next time you see your grandchild, ask for help learning how to communicate via text, FaceTime/Skype and email. Not only will this allow you to connect more easily and frequently with the student, but it also will allow your grandchild to teach you something new; to enhance that special relationship between you.
6. Share your history with the student. Grandchildren love to learn about their families. What were you doing when you were the student’s age? Were you in college, too or had you already begun working? Sharing anecdotes from days gone by can increase the bond you and your grandchild share. Stories can be told through all modes of communication—letters, phone calls, email, etc.
Written by Becky Deo
September 20, 2018