Best Ways Parents Can Support Their Children at University


Watching your children leave for university can be a tough time for parents. Many students tend to move away from home for their studies, and it’s no different in Knox County. Some might stay local and opt for Ohio University, but with the likes of Cornell not too far away, those that aim high may venture further afield. A member of the household leaving is a big change for the whole family, but even more so for the child who is off to university.


No matter how much you try to prepare them, there’s a certain amount of life skills they need to learn on their own through trial and error. It can be stressful for everyone involved, so we’ve put together a list of ways you can support your child at university.


Ensure they have the essentials

They will need lots of basic household items to get them started once they set off, especially if they’re in self-catering accommodation, so as a parent, this is a great way to help out. Parents will know what basics they’ll need and what they should cost, which could help to minimize any extra money being spent once they arrive.


Make sure they have kitchen utensils, bedding, towels and toiletries at the minimum, then perhaps take them shopping once they arrive at university. This is a great opportunity for them to pick up anything they had forgotten, and to stock up on spices, sauces and other kitchen essentials – all from the bank of Mom and Dad.


Offer financial support

It’s important to find a middle-ground between funding your children’s partying and letting them work out their finances completely on their own. If they have some time still before they set off, encourage them to do some research on saving money before university. Having that buffer there when they set off can be majorly helpful, and teaches them some financial skills early on. Even so, that doesn’t mean that they’ll always be fine on their own, so make sure to check in with them to see if they need help.


University is a tough time financially, with many students barely scraping by after paying their rent. There are only so many packets of ramen that they can eat before it has a negative impact on their health, so try to offer some financial support if times get tough. If you’re concerned it’ll be used for things other than food, try buying vouchers for grocery stores to ensure it goes at least somewhat towards food.


Be their safe space


With so many changes happening at once alongside school work, it can be draining on students’ mental health. It’s really important that they have someone they can come to with any problems, without judgment. Try to be an active listener, rather than spending the conversation thinking of solutions. You may find it helpful to ask them if they want advice, or if they just want to vent. Giving them a safe space to talk through the issue builds trust, meaning they’ll be more likely to come to you if they get into any serious trouble. Sometimes that’s more important than punishing them or getting angry, particularly as they get older.


Finding a balance

It can be hard to find the right balance as a parent when your child sets off for university, but as time passes it will get easier. You’ll learn what works best for you both. Just make sure they know that there’s always a room waiting for them at home, and they can come back whenever they need to. A break from their new responsibilities is often welcomed and gives you some time to hear all about their new adventures.


Author bio

Heather Roberts completed her PhD in 2005 and is now a mum to two wonderful children, one of which is currently majoring in Biochemistry at the University of Cincinnati. She now works as a university professor, teaching History at an undergraduate level.