Parents weekend is a longstanding tradition on college campuses across the country. Each one is different, though nearly every college and university in America hosts some kind of parents weekend.
Parents Weekend: What is it?
Parents weekend serves two basic purposes. One is to give the institution your child is attending a chance to say thank you to you as a parent. Sometimes, it coincides with Homecoming Weekend, when many of the school’s alumni, young and old, will be on campus to relive their college experiences.
The other is to give you and your child a chance to see one another, catch up, and spend a little time on campus together. This is why most parents weekends happen within the first 2 months of the school year.
Parents Weekend: What to Expect?
You should expect your child to want you to attend parents weekend. It’s no college secret: This isn’t like parent’s night in elementary school. You may not even meet any of your child’s professors. It’s a chance for you and your child to catch up and for you to see him or her in this new setting — now that the settling-in period has ended.
Parents weekend typically involves some prescheduled events coordinated by your son or daughter’s school. Barbecues, theater events and concerts are typical. Many smaller groups your child may be involved in, like clubs or Greek institutions will also organize smaller gatherings during parents weekend.
A note of caution, if you’re planning to visit overnight during parents weekend, you’ll want to get a hotel reservation right away. The college administration office can help you with this, but don’t delay. The same goes for any dinner or other reservations you’re interested in.
How to Make Parents Weekend Great
If you’re excited to visit your child during parents weekend, and want to make sure you do it right consider the following questons:
1) Does your child miss anything from home? Bake cookies, bring up something meaningful from home for their new space. If you can’t think of anything special immediately, just ask your child what he or she needs. Chances are something was forgotten on the way to school.
2) Has your child had a meal off campus in the last month? Most kids arrive on campus with their parents and then rarely leave for a real meal. Take this opportunity to take your kid to dinner and create a new tradition. Make sure you get your reservations early! Parents weekend will be busy at area restaurants.
3) Do your child’s friends have parents who couldn’t attend? Even if your child is a freshman, chances are he or she has made some friends by now. If your child’s roommates or friends don’t have parents attending, ask your child to invite them to come along. This will give you a chance to meet your son or daughter’s new pals, too.
4) Has your child done laundry or cleaned? Transitioning to college life can be a challenge. Even if your child is typically clean, he or she may be running around so much that basic cleaning and laundry have been forgotten. You can’t go to college with your kids, but if it makes you feel good, helping out by cleaning up for / with him or her could be an awesome gesture.
5) Has your child seen the area outside of campus? Most college students first on campus end up getting stuck there for the most part. If your child is attending school in an unfamiliar place, take some time to drive around the area or plan something local that you know he or she will like. Sometimes just getting away from school life for a few hours can be a relief.
If you’re interested in making sure your child has a great parents weekend, chances are it’s inevitable. Put a little thought into what they might like or need. Make an effort to attend, even if it’s just for a day. And think about ways to incorporate a new tradition for your family on parents weekend to make it something your son or daughter looks forward to each year. You’ll be glad you did.
What do you do during parents weekend? Do you have any special plans? Share your tips, thoughts and advice in the comments below.