When Your Son Leaves for College

From the Rancho Mirage model at Oasis at Queen Creek

From the Rancho Mirage model at Oasis at Queen Creek

It’s complicated but fun getting your daughter ready to go away to college, but it’s trickier with a son. While your daughter is likely to enjoy planning her dorm room’s décor, most boys, particularly in high school, have no interest in anything related to decorating, and wouldn’t admit it if they had.

So what do you do to make sure he’s ready without adding to the trauma of leaving home and living on his own for the first time ever? Here are a few suggestions to make it easier for both of you.

Focus on the basics: These include warm bedding, clean clothes, hygiene and first aid supplies, as well as adequate lighting and storage. Chances are you’ve taken care of all these things over the years, so it’s quite possible that your son won’t realize what he needs until he needs it. It’s your job to get him ready, and to educate him on what you’ve been taking care of for him.

Bedding: Look for sheet sets. Most dorm rooms offer long single beds, so look for that size when shopping. Places such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target are gearing up for the go-to-college set, so you should have a good selection of options available. If your son is going to school in an area that experiences cold winters, be sure to include a blanket as well as a warm bedspread. There are no guarantees that dorms are warm.

Laundry: If your son is not familiar with doing laundry, take the time for a basic tutorial. Pack laundry detergent and plan for at least a month’s worth of underwear, because no college kid does laundry more often than that. Be sure to include a laundry bag rather than a basket – a bag is easier to store and haul around.

First aid: Include band aids and any over-the-counter items that your son is used to having on hand. Find an easy container to hold it all in one place.

Lighting: Many dorms have fair lighting, but a lamp with task lighting is a useful accessory. Look for something simple and light enough to move around as needed.

Storage: Dorm closets are small, so consider some under-bed storage for extra sweaters, etc.

Don’t worry about music and other technology. Your son will probably be on top of that too. And don’t make gender assumptions. You may have a boy that really cares about what that bedspread looks like, or a daughter who just doesn’t care. Either way, follow these guidelines to ensure that your child, whether male or female, is ready to make that leap away from home.