You never thought the day would come that your children who argued over clothes, divided their shared room down the middle with masking tape, and avoided each other at school would actually be sad to say goodbye. As your child prepares to leave for college, saying goodbye is equally difficult for those leaving and those being left behind, even siblings. Sibling relationships can be enduring, and a sense of loss can be felt when an older sibling heads off to college.

Staying connected

Whether a sibling is feeling lonely or confused about their new perceived role in the family, there are a variety of ways that parents can help those children at home stay connected with an older sibling:

  • Plan family gatherings
    • Plan a dinner out for just family when the college student comes home to visit.
    • Explore a new city by meeting halfway between home and college for a day.
    • Have the younger sibling and college sibling plan a family weekend getaway.
  • Virtual connection
    • Plan weekly phone calls for younger siblings to talk with their older sibling.
    • Help a sibling prepare a college care package.
  • Plan a campus visit: Family Weekend, Homecoming, Athletic Events

Family transition tip

Spend family time talking about living space and how space might be reallocated before your student leaves, so they are not surprised when they arrive home and find their bedroom is now occupied by a sibling.

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