SparkNotes Blog

Pro Tips for Staying In Touch with Your Parents When You’re Away at College

Just because howlers are a thing of the past, doesn’t mean that keeping up with Mom and Dad while you’re away at school is any less stressful. Below are a few tips for staying in touch that will keep them happy without making you want to cast your phone into the fires from whence it came. 

1. Establish a regular call schedule. May we suggest Friday, when you have a wealth of classes and club meetings to fill the ‘rents in on, or Monday, when the weekend’s festivities are still fresh in your mind? If Dad knows he’s going to hear from you every Friday at 4, he won’t text you 30 times on Tuesday morning and make you late to Quidditch practice. (<—This is a legit college activity and we could not be happier about that.)

2. Include a few concrete details in each conversation. Maybe answering “Butteverrr,” when your mom asked “How was your day?” cut it in high school, but now that she’s miles away, she’s probably going to want a little more. Drop deets and anecdotes about the big three—Friends, Academics, and Recreation—for a satisfying conversation every time you talk.

3. Mail ’em stuff! Your college papers may not be as cute as your kindergarten art projects (although let’s be honest, that macaroni collage was garbage), but that doesn’t mean your parents won’t want to hang them on the fridge. Sending your fam a few things you’re thinking/writing/making will make them majorly proud, and also prove that you’re working hard.

4. Think about where they’re coming from. 18 years ago, your parents’ lives stopped being about them and started being about making sure you were breathing, eating, and doing all the other things that keep a human alive and happy. When they text and call, they just want to make sure that you’re okay, and that you’re occasionally eating something slightly healthier than cookie dough and Goldfish crackers. Try not to blow them off too often.

5. Remember who made your college experience possible. If you’re like the majority of people, your parents are paying at least part your college tuition, and that’s pretty much the most awesome gift ever. If the phone conversations are painful, just think of them as a really long “thank you” note that takes four years and many awkward pauses to finish. In our opinion, it’s worth it.

Do you have any tips for keeping in touch with your parents while you’re away at college?