Move in Day | Helping Your Son or Daughter Settle in at Universityby Newcastle University
Moving into university halls, when your son or daughter truly flies the nest – possibly for the first time – must rank among the most stressful life events for parents. But it doesn’t have to be, if you approach things in the right way.
Moving in day is emotionally tough, but if you remain positive, practical and hold back the tears, you’ll help kickstart your son or daughter’s university journey in the best possible way.
Start preparing well in advance by shopping for the things your son or daughter will need – items don’t have to be pricey, but it’s good if they’re durable to withstand the rigours of student life.
Most students spend their first year in university-managed accommodation – at Newcastle they’re guaranteed a place in halls if they meet certain criteria – and that means their room and flat will be furnished and the kitchen equipped with electronic items including a kettle, toaster and microwave.
Typically, they’ll need:
- cutlery, crockery, pots, pans and kitchen utensils
- towels and tea towels
- bedding (pillow, duvet, sheet)
- laundry basket
- coat hangers
- alarm clock
- laptop/desktop PC and charges
It’s also worth packing some things that will remind your son or daughter of home so they can personalise their bedroom, but that doesn’t mean they need to take EVERYTHING they own. Find the right balance between the things they want and the things they need and remember, it’s all got to fit in the car!
Because the more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel on the day, plan your route to university and try to get to know the campus layout in advance.
Open Days are ideal opportunities to explore, and don’t underestimate virtual campus and city tours; use them to orientate yourself and your son or daughter as to where their accommodation is in relation to main facilities.
Know the process
Universities are very thorough on move-in day logistics, so your son or daughter will receive a moving in date and may even get a time slot for when they can turn up; this helps staff manage traffic at the accommodation sites.
On arrival, your son or daughter will need to check in at reception to pick up keys and finalise any paperwork. You’ll have time to unpack – usually about half an hour – and may need to move your car after that time, so scout out nearby public parking beforehand.
Current students may be on hand to show your son or daughter where facilities are, if not, help them explore. It’s definitely worth finding the laundry room and checking they understand how to use the machines which may operate on a pre-paid system – then they’ve got no excuse for bringing mountains of washing home at the end of term.
Don’t feel out of place – you should be there
If your son or daughter is worried you’ll be the only mum and dad at moving in day, reassure them that almost everyone’s parents turn up to help – it will only be weird if you’re planning to set up a camp bed and stay the week.
It’s important you see where your child is going to be living and you’ll be needed to fetch and carry on the day.
And while you’re quietly unpacking in the background, encourage them to introduce themselves to their new flatmates to break the ice; chances are they’ll be organising their first flat get-together before you know it.
Know when to go home
You mightn’t want to leave them, but you’ve got to. Before you do, check they know:
- where their first registration event/welcome talk is
- where the nearest bank is and/or hole-in-the-wall cash machine
- if they’re travelling to campus, how to get there, including the nearest bus stop and bus times
This is not helicopter parenting, it’s just a way of making sure they know what they’re doing on their first day. Take them food shopping, too, so they know where the nearest supermarket is, are stocked up with food and have had possibly their first taste of budgeting.
You may feel quite emotional on the day but try not to show it. Your son or daughter will be excited about starting university; they’ve worked hard to get there and this is the culmination of a lot of hopes, dreams, and plans, so be happy for them.
If they’re feeling nervous, be positive and help them focus on all the amazing things they’ll be doing. Reassure them that they’ll soon settle in and make new friends.
Leave them feeling happy, confident, and looking forward to their first evening in halls and save your tears for the car going home.
Keeping in touch
Try to balance how much support your son or daughter needs, with how much you miss them and want to call.
It can be tough resisting the urge to ring, so arrange a set day or time to speak to them – this will give you something to look forward to and give them some space during those first few weeks if they need it.
If they’re feeling homesick, they may need more contact. Help them stay upbeat and reassure them that things will get easier.
If you have any serious concerns about your son or daughter, contact the university immediately. Support and Wellbeing staff will get in touch with them to check everything is ok and put your mind at rest.
University staff understand how difficult it can be for parents when their child is living away from home and they have a duty of care for your son or daughter that they take very seriously.
Although we use the terms son/daughter throughout this blog for simplicity, it is intended for anyone fulfilling a parenting role.
For further reassurance about how universities look after their students, read our blog.
Published By Newcastle University on 06/05/2020 | Last Updated 07/10/2020