Lessons in Laundry and Life

by Kerry Lynch

It’s true. My mother gave me a lesson in folding laundry before I left for college. I had never done a load of laundry before. She wanted me to be prepared, to be ready for the world of college and independent life.

What are you thinking about in 2020 if you are preparing to drop students at college this fall? Laundry may not be front of mind for you. Or maybe it is – as in how often to launder your mask. The world is always different from one generation to the next but this year may feel acutely different.

Here are some ideas for talking to your children about being prepared for college and for college 2020 style:

  • Emphasize the positive. This is an exciting journey and an historical one.
  • Take the ride with your college of choice. Be a supporter of the school, the procedures and the challenges.
  • Practice patience. Try some deep breathing exercises together – you will both benefit.
  • Agree on communication expectations. This may take several rounds but it is important that you have an understanding of what the other party needs and expects and arrive at some kind of decision.
  • Go over symptoms of common illnesses and make a plan for how to deal with those.
  • Agree on expectations around social gatherings. But a word of caution here – try not to impose expectations that are not realistic and are stricter than the college’s unless there is a health concern that demands it.
  • Rehearse the escape route plan (this goes beyond COVID but applies to any situation he or she needs to get out of) with your child. Make sure he or she has a rideshare app that can be used in an emergency situation.
  • Set realistic expectations about grades and agree on whether parents will be given access to the academic records. The orientation process will explain this.

Above all, spend the summer celebrating your child’s accomplishments in big and small ways. If the opportunity to hold the postponed celebration presents itself, great. If not, walk together, go bike riding, hit the beach. Tell him or her how pleased you were with how he or she handled the disappointment of senior year activities being cancelled. Share your love and your excitement about the future, and feel confident that your many parenting lessons will be long-remembered.

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