2002. Grandmother & granddaughter attending Smith College reunion together.
When I think of “letting go,” as an organizing coach, I think about our stuff, our habits which no longer serve us, and our internal clutter. I hadn’t thought about high school seniors !
It started about a year ago, as clients and friends moved through college applications, senior year events and prepared for a graduation celebration. I started hearing: “I wonder what it will be like next year when he’s/she’s gone.”
Times of change are prime times to ask for additional support to make it easier to move on to your next chapter. I work mainly with people who have gone through one or more of these significant life events – some sad, some happy, many bittersweet.
Support can be in the form of brainstorming, ideas from other clients, insights, perspective and cheering on your behalf. Belief in you, even when your belief may not be as strong as it usually is.
Ideas for how you can model your life organizing skills as they prepare to leave home.
Work on these together. Teach what you know as you model it and share your words of wisdom.
Get ready for their new home.
What day is your child returning or starting college? Create your dorm room list of what you need to buy or find at your home to send them off in August.
If you start your list now, before the emotions set in too heavily, your mind’s clearer to come up with your best list.
And, you’ll have several months to spend the time and money on things, rather than having big bills in August.
Avoid last minute purchases here or at college. You’ll pay more than what you wanted and/or won’t get quite the product you wanted.
How does your young adult handle change and stress?
What happens during periods of high stress – like being away from home for such a long time, living with a roommate perhaps for the first time and all the other stresses of this new chapter she’s about to start. On her own. Without family to be right there with her? Discuss it. Plan for it.
How does her ADD show up day-to-day? Spend time working with your high school senior discussing how he/she will manage this aspect of life.
Has your young adult ever been away for a few weeks or more; use that experience to figure out what worked and what was most difficult. Begin the college conversation with his strengths.
Talk with friends who have older college-aged children. What is a typical day like? And a weekend? What were the challenges? How can you two figure out some of this together? Can you review a schedule together?
What does the school have for support for the young adult with ADD? With a learning disability? With a chronic medical issue? How will you continue work with the specialists at home?
A smaller version of their stuff
Your adult child will likely stubbornly refuse to believe that everything he owns cannot fit into the dorm room.
Teaching moment: How can you help your high school senior decide on a smaller version of her clothes and other belongings?
This is a great time for reflection and discussion together on what deserves space in the college dorm room.
And on what will make a dorm room feel like “home?”
How will you organize contact with each other once she’s there?
Sunday night phone calls home? Email? Facebook contact? How often is often enough so he feels supported by the home front but not so tied that he doesn’t quite leave the nest mentally?
My 30th year college reunion is this year. I don’t remember how my parents handled my last summer at home, but I DO remember they wrote me a letter to take with me.
On lined, yellow 8 1/2 x 14 paper, dad’s handwriting communicated their words of wisdom on all fronts of my new chapter ahead.
How will you do all of this for your new college freshman?
Too much going on? Need additional support to figure out all of this? Meet with me for 1, 2 or 3 hours. Meet with me by phone or in person.
What to bring to college. http://www.campusgrotto.com/what-to-bring-to-college.html
Recommended by Linda Samuels, author, Professional Organizer, a book she read as her daughter left for her freshman year: http://www.amazon.com/Letting-Go-Fifth-Parents-Understanding/dp/0061665738
Heart-felt words of wisdom from mom blogger, Wendy Thomas, as her son temporarily left the roost for his High School robotics team at the FIRST National competition in St. Louis. http://simplethrift.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/lesson-305-words-for-my-little-chick-who-is-away/
The Old College Pry – from The Gypsy Nesters (life after kids blog): http://www.gypsynester.com/tk.htm