3 min read

How to cope when your son or daughter goes to university

How to cope when your son or daughter goes to university

by Judith Charlton

Let’s be honest, it’s tough being a parent when your son or daughter leaves home to go to university.

You want them to become the wonderful, confident and independent person you know they can be, but it’s hard to see them go.

You want them to make friends and have amazing experiences, but you’re worried about how they’ll cope in a new and different environment.

You want them always to be safe and well, but have to face the possibility they might be dealing with the continuing effects of a global pandemic.

So, how do you cope when your son or daughter goes to university? And what can you do to prepare yourself, and them, for this new chapter in your lives?

Dealing with an empty nest

It’s inevitable that you’re going to miss your son or daughter once they leave for university, so try to stay positive, both while they’re still at home and when they’ve gone.

  • Be proud of their success – they’ve worked hard to get the grades they need to go to university
  • Be excited for them – they’re taking the first steps in building their future
  • Be involved in their hopes and dreams – seeing them realise their ambitions will leave you confident they’re following the right path

If you’re struggling with empty nest syndrome when they leave for university – that feeling of loss and loneliness – check out our blog for some practical advice on what you can do.

Be prepared

In the run-up to your son or daughter leaving for university there’s lots to do – from shopping for student essentials to packing for the big move. But if you want to sleep easier at night once they’ve left, there’s a couple of things you could add to your ‘to do’ list.

Teach them how to cook. Your son or daughter doesn’t need to be a master chef, but knowing they can make simple, satisfying meals will be one less worry for you. Send them off to university with a culinary repertoire of basic, nutritious recipes, and you’ll feel more confident and happier about their ability to look after themselves.

Take them food shopping. A few tips on savvy shopping to make their student budget go further will also put your mind at rest about how they’ll manage their money. If you’re worried about how they’ll make ends meet – and how you might have to help them financially – discuss how they can budget.

In short, if they’re prepared and ready to cope with student life, you’ll feel better about them leaving home.

Stay connected

In this digital world, we’re more connected than ever through messaging and video chat software that’s free and easy to use. Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, are all great apps for chatting online.

Set up a family account where all family members can chat with each other, leave messages and post pictures. Not only will you feel connected to your son or daughter at university, but you’ll also be keeping them in the loop about what’s going on at home.

Arrange a time to video call them; bear in mind they’ll be busy with their studies, their new friends and flatmates, so be sensible about when and how often you call them.

Even a quick text message can help you stay in touch and leave you feeling reassured that they’re ok.


When your son or daughter goes to university, if Covid-19 restrictions are still in place you’ll need to know they’re safe and well, and are coping with – and following – any physical distancing or local lockdown measures. So, before they leave, talk to them about how you’ll both handle this scenario.

Regular updates from them about what’s happening on campus and how the university is looking after their health and wellbeing will save you unnecessary worry.

Checking that they know what to do and are coping with the situation, and offering advice if they need it at the time, will be additional support for them.

And don’t forget you can always contact the university direct if you have any serious concerns about your son or daughter.

Staff will be working hard to keep students and their parents informed during any restrictions or lockdown measures, and will be happy to talk to you and work with you, to keep your son or daughter, their flatmates, and the wider student community safe and well.

Find out more

Newcastle University is a special community and we want our students to thrive in an exciting and enriching environment. Read our blog to find out how our dedicated teams will support your son or daughter whether we're living in these strange times or not. We also have extra safety precautions at present, to ensure our student community is safe and happy.

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful – do keep checking back with us for more resources to help you and your son or daughter as they prepare for university. If they need some support with their university application, why not download our guide to writing a personal statement below? This year, we've included added guidance on how to project the transferable skills your son or daughter has gained during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Parents Guide to University Applications