5 ways to stay in touch with your college-bound sibs


As the beginning of the school year creeps closer and closer, you might start stressing about your first day--and your older siblings might too, especially if they're starting their first semester of college! If the school they're attending is close to home, then you're in for an exciting year of weekend trips to campus and hilarious stories about their new roommate. But if your older sib is attending a university that's hours or states away, you might start to feel a little lonely (who knew you could actually *miss* sharing a bathroom?!). Here's how to stay strong when a sibling moves out, even when they won't be home until winter break. 

1. Make the most of the summer.

Maybe for the first few months of vacation, you didn't exactly cherish all the spare time you had to hang out with your sib. Luckily, there's still a few weeks left. Ask them to spend a day hanging out by the pool, or offer to help them with their back-to-school shopping--after all, moving into a dorm requires a lot of work. Take plenty of pictures to commemorate your sibling bonding sessions, and if you're feeling extra sentimental, make them a scrapbook to take to school with them. It'll be a super sweet present for when they're feeling homesick during their first weeks away from home. 

2. Help them move in.

Dorm shopping is only part of the chaos that is moving in to a residence hall, and when it comes to lugging a microwave, minifridge and their entire wardrobe up to the eleventh floor, your sib could use all the help they can get. Plus, once you see where they'll be living, you'll have a better picture of what they're doing throughout the year, and college won't seem like such a scary, far-away place. 

3. Make Skype and Facetime your best friends.

Once the semester is in full swing and texting back-and-forth isn't helping you miss your sib any less, it's time for a video chat through Skype or Facetime. Facetime is totally convenient for a personal, one-on-one conversation--just make sure your sibling is expecting your call so they can find a quiet place and won't disturb their roomie! If your whole fam wants to be involved, get comfortable sitting around the family computer and start Skyping. Your sibling will be grateful to see your familiar faces. Just remember, they'll probably be missing the family pets, too, so lift your pup up to the webcam to say hi.

4. Send handwritten notes.

It might sound totally dated, but handwritten notes and letters are a really sweet and personal way to connect to a sibling far away. They allow you to organize your thoughts and write way more than texting will allow, and cute pictures will definitely cheer up your sib if they're feeling homesick. Plus, everyone loves receiving mail in college.

5. Plan a visit.

You'll have to talk to your family about this one, but even if the drive takes hours and you have to plan months in advance, a visit to your sibling's college would make for a super-fun trip during a holiday or long weekend. You'll get to see their dorm once it's fully decorated, explore campus and all the sights around town and even experience what it's like to eat in a dining hall. Most universities host a parents' weekend sometime in the fall, so see if you can tag along. And this way, if you don't have time to make an entire scrapbook of you and your sibling before the summer ends, you'll get to surprise them with a sweet and unexpected gift.

Your sibling will probably miss you as much as you miss them, and they'll appreciate all of the efforts you make to talk to them and keep them from feeling homesick. And if you feel like they're leaving you behind, just remember--they have to leave your whole family, if only for a semester. So be understanding and encourage them to make tons of friends and have fun during their first months away from home.

How do you deal when a family member leaves home? Let us know in the comments below!  

by Kristin Helf | 8/18/2016
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