4 Things to Pack for Your Kid When They Leave for College

It can be strange how conflicted a parent can feel when their child is about to head to college. On the one hand, it can feel like quite a relief, as your kid is about to grow up and tackle the world on their own. For those with an only child, it’s also the chance for the parents to reconnect in a way they haven’t since their bundle of joy arrived.

On the other hand, it can feel like the family is being pulled into different directions, perhaps permanently. It’s another phase of life, and while your child is probably excited about the whole thing, they’re likely as anxious as you. When it comes to sending your child to college, preparation is the name of the game! It’s time to start packing, as well as provide your child a bit of insight with the things you fill for them.

For those tackling the situation for the first time, here are a few things you can pack your kid when they leave for college.

  1. An emotional hand-written letter can make all the difference

While you would want your children to find the things you pack for them quickly, a hand-written letter is something you might not want them to see so soon. It’s the kind of thing that might just perk them right up after a stressful and lonely day at college. You can hide the letter however you want, perhaps in one of the bag pockets that you know they probably won’t open anytime soon, and wait for the call or text about how much they miss you when they finally find it.

You could even stretch your creative muscles by hiding little post-it notes with letters of encouragement all around their things. It can be a lot of fun, and it can help serve as a cheery reminder that you’ve got their backs no matter what.

  1. Delicious snacks can act as welcome companions

What better way to celebrate your child heading out to college than packing in a metric ton of snacks? All those things that you barred your kid from gorging on a child, you can pack into their stuff as they head toward a new phase of their life. Considering that dorm life typically will not have much in the form of substantial snacks, it’s something they’ll undoubtedly appreciate. After all, aside from the dorm cafeteria, they likely won’t have to keep their energy going.

That said, it’s not just about packing unhealthy snacks! They’re going to be sure to miss the food at home, which is why it would be ideal to try to pack in some home cooking. It’s going to be a nostalgic thing before long, which means you’ll likely repeat the process and send them home cooking every now and then.

  1. Photo books of your time together

With the rise of social media, most people have their life experiences on the platform for everyone to see. That said, it’s pretty easy for most photos to get lost on the feed, buried by all of the other posts. Fortunately, there’s a way to help remind your child of all the great times you shared together, like vacations and trips.

There are photo memory books services you can use to export social media images and transfer them to a physical scrapbook. You can also pack in photo books of past vacations and events that help you and your child bond. It’s something that will remind them you’ll always be there, even if they no longer live under the same roof.

  1. Instructions on how to become an adult

Keep in mind that college will likely be the first time your child gets the chance to become an adult — which means it’s time to learn about all the things that you won’t be able to help them in college. For example, a schedule of their doctor’s appointments would be appreciated, as well as instructions on how to start a bank account, handle insurance, and much more. While a list of responsibilities doesn’t sound like much fun, they must learn how to be as responsible as they possibly can while out at college.


There’s no denying that you’re going to miss your child, and they’re going to miss you. It’s a fact of life that your kids will eventually go off and have their own adventures, though there’s no need to fret. The tips above will ensure that you give your college-bound children precisely what they need.