We live in a world of digital well-wishes. We might send a funny meme to someone having a bad day, text our significant other to check in on them, or instant message a friend to say hi. While these are quick and easy ways to maintain relationships, there’s still something to be said for finding tangible ways to show someone you care about them. Think about the last time you received an unexpected package in the mail versus the last time you received a message on your phone. Which one caused more excitement? The package, most likely!
While your college student is away from home, you may find yourself wondering how you can lift their spirits during stressful times, such as mid-terms, final exams, or even during the emotional adjustment phase of leaving home and being on their own. One of the best ways to show your support without coddling them is to send a college care package their way.
Care packages don’t need to be elaborate, but they should contain a few important elements. The exact items you choose will, of course, depend on what your particular college kid enjoys, but starting with a few general guidelines may end up sparking a few ideas that wouldn’t have come to you otherwise. Here are a few suggestions to get you on your way to creating the perfect college care package:
Comforts of Home
Not all college students may admit they miss home. After all, it’s most likely the first time in their lives that they can be fully independent – they would never want to give off the impression that they can’t handle it! Homesickness is, however, a very common experience for college students. This is especially true for freshmen, 69% of whom said that they were homesick when surveyed by UCLA.
Start your college care package by thinking of some things your college kid may be missing from home. This can be both in the literal and figurative sense: they may be missing the feeling that being amongst familiar, cozy surroundings brings, or they could be missing certain experiences or items that they can’t access while away. Consider including the following:
- Their favorite homemade cookies or treats
- Items from a local boutique
- Candles or diffusers with comforting scents, such as lavender or cotton
- A cozy blanket or sweatshirt
- Socks or slippers
- Something warm and soothing: tea, coffee, soup or hot cocoa
- A handwritten card with messages from the family
Fun Study Tools
As a parent, you probably remember the days when you had to really work hard to make learning fun. Perhaps it was when your child started to spell their first words, began learning long division, or needed to study for a science test that they weren’t exactly interested in. Your goal was to make whatever they were learning interesting, and sometimes it required an arsenal of colorful, eye-catching supplies and activities.
Now that your college student is on their own, it is up to them to create their own motivation for hitting the books. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring back your old school techniques to help them from afar! Pack a few of these into your college care package to make study time fun:
- Colorful pens, pencils and highlighters to boost memory
- Flash cards
- Post-It notes
- Energy drinks or energy drops
- Phone charging cords or a battery pack
- Weekly organizer
- Bullet journal
- Stickers or washi tape
- Novelty erasers
- Peppermint candy for brain stimulation
Something to Snack On
In our previous article, we touched upon how having a variety of snacks is an important college essential for any student. Students need a lot of fuel to keep up with the social and academic demands of college, and not all of them master working trips to the dining hall into their schedules. Aside from providing a way to keep them full in between meals, snacks are also a college staple for study sessions, dorm lounging or being on the go.
A great college care package should include a combination of snacks that won’t melt in warmer temperatures, can be easily stowed in backpacks, and have single-serve packaging to maintain freshness over a month or two. Check a few of these off your list before sending your care package on its way:
- Granola bars
- Microwavable meals
- Their favorite candy
- Chips or pretzels
- Popcorn + seasoning
- Healthy snack companions, such as caramel or ranch dipping sauce
- Wet wipes, napkins and utensils
Products for Pampering
One of the best habits a college student can learn is to take time, even if it’s just ten minutes, to de-stress. College can be a taxing time for any student, and forming self care habits as a young adult can help their mental and physical health in the long run.
It’s probably safe to assume that your college kid isn’t living in the most glamorous of places, whether it’s a dorm room or off-campus apartment. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you to help transform their environment in a way that makes them feel more happy and relaxed. Help their stress melt away by including one of these items in your college care package:
- Face or body wash
- Lip balm
- Nail grooming kit
- Plush bath towel
- Face masks
- Scented hand sanitizer
- Toiletry bag
College is mostly about gaining the skills and experience needed to succeed, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of downtime, too! Packing a few fun items into your college care package is the perfect way to encourage a mental break or to give your college kid something to do that doesn’t involve staring at their phone. If possible, include a mix of solo and group games, as well as items that can also double as decorations. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Playing cards
- Light-up toys
- Slime or Play-Doh
- Squishy toys
- A frisbee
- Holiday decorations
- Travel/mini games
- Figurines from their favorite shows
- DIY craft activities, such as a desk zen garden or a fabric covered cork board
Too busy to curate your own college care package? Pick one of ours and send it their way instead.
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