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What's My Role on Moving Day? A Guide for Parents

Discover your role on college moving day.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

July 13, 2017

What's My Role on Moving Day? A Guide for Parents
As a parent, you have just as many mixed feelings as your son or daughter on move-in day. This either results in a lot of tears or an argument that brings moving day traffic to a standstill in the center of the college quad. To prevent this emotional crash or clash, it’s best to prepare yourself and play your part on moving day. Remain calm. Chances are your child is freaking out, despite what the look on their face may tell you. They’re not just starting a new school year; they’re beginning a new lifestyle. If you’re frantic or tense, they will register your emotions instantly and it will only add to what they’re already feeling. Instead, put your game face on and save the breakdown for the three-hour car ride home.

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Provide support.
Let them know through your words and actions that this day is all about them. Ask what you can do beforehand to make the transition smoother. Learn what your son or daughter is expecting from you before the big moving day and follow through when the time actually comes. Also, let them know throughout moving day that you’re there to help them with whatever. Your child may have made concrete plans for that day so be flexible for them.

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Give direction. While your son or daughter may have plans, they’ll still look to you for opinions and guidance. For instance, they might ask where you think they should place their dorm room furniture or hang their posters. They might also need your direction when they’re trying to figure out whether to help unload the car or get their new student I.D. Even as they're moving into their dorm room, they’ll want your instruction because they realize that Mom and Dad know best. Don’t overstep.

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Though it’s helpful for you to provide some opinions, don’t step over the line and start issuing commands. This is the day where you have to let go of your child a bit and let them make decisions. After all, within a few hours time, you’ll be in the car and they’ll have to start making choices without you looming overhead. View moving day as a time where you’re working together as equals. Moving day is one of those few opportunities where you need to be a friend more than a parent to your child. This day is nerve-wracking and scary for them regardless of their surface excitement and you can help make it a smooth, positive transition by staying calm and supportive…at least until your car pulls out of the parking lot.

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