Student Life

Ease Homesickness with a Treat from Home: 7 Great Care Packages to Help Your Student Start College

College can be fun but it can also be tough, and there are times when students need a bit of extra support navigating the transitions. There are new things to learn and new people to meet. The experience can be emotionally and psychologically overwhelming. It is important for parents to be ready to provide support during that all-important transition period, and sometimes the best way to do that is with a care package from home.

Having something familiar around can be a huge help to a college student struggling to make sense of campus life and fit into the new routine. Something as simple as a box of homemade cookies or a few regional treats can have a huge impact.

Putting together a care package is something the whole family can get involved in — from siblings who miss their brother or sister to grandparents who want to keep in touch across the miles. No matter where your son or daughter is attending college, chances are these thoughtful care packages will be appreciated. 

1.    Cards from home – Emails and text messages are great for keeping in touch, but they lack that personal feel that is so important to those living away from home for the first time. A care package filled with letters, cards and well wishes from home is sure to be welcome. Parents can even create customized albums filled with notes from old high school friends, pictures and drawings from younger siblings and other special items. 

2.     Family photos – While college students can look up pictures on Facebook and other social media sites, there is nothing like a physical photograph to make them feel better and remind them of home. Parents can create photo albums or frame a favorite family memory to provide a reminder of home.

3.     A taste of home – No matter what part of the country you call home, there are some foods that are simply not available nationwide. Small regional manufacturers operate in every state, and finding those special items when far from home can be a challenge. Parents can ease the transition to college and provide a taste of home with a “local” care package. Make a list of your son or daughter’s favorite regional foods, then fill a goodie box with those special items. 

4.     Fuel gift cards – Sometimes the best care packages are the practical ones. College life can be expensive, and every little bit helps. No matter what campus they are on, your son or daughter is sure to appreciate a gas gift card. Think about including additional gift cards for local restaurants and shops.

5.     Household essentials – No matter how carefully you and your student shopped, chances are you missed a few items along the way. Put together a care package filled with small but essential household items. Think of your gift box like a “shelf in the pantry” or a “mini medicine cabinet” to send your student those comforts from home that they are accustomed to accessing. Little things like a cold care kit with take-along tissues, antibacterial soaps and cough drops or a box with popcorn, hot chocolate and some mac n’ cheese can make a big difference, especially for busy college students with little time to shop. 

6.     School supplies – Shopping for college supplies is not exactly like back-to-school shopping, but the concept is still the same. Your new college student will need a variety of items, from pens and pencils to calculators and notebooks, to get them through those tough first classes. Parents can put all these supplies in a box, include a few extra treats like mints or gum and send it off to campus. 

7.     The toy store – Your college student may be growing into a young adult, but help them harness that kid like spirit by sending them a surprise box of toys from their childhood. They’re going to need a break from studying and it will be a fun conversation starter among their new friends. Include things like a slinky, silly putty, cards, hacky sacks, or a rubik’s cube. Maybe send a toy that you and your student played with growing up. The memories will help to let them know you’re thinking of them and they still have a place at home.

Remember to ask your specific university or college how to mail packages to campus. Each residence hall has its own specific address and some campuses have their own mail center. 

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter for additional tips and advice to help your college student succeed. You can also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our College Parents’ Facebook group. 

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