Schools across the nation are back in session, and for some of you, that means your son or daughter has gone off to college and you are experiencing an empty nest.

There are many ways to stay connected with your kids once they have left, and I’m going to share just a few.

1. Pray for your son or daughter. Let them know you are doing so. Pray to ease both your and their worries. Pray for continued spiritual growth as your child ventures out on their own and that they always look to Jesus in times that are good and not so good. Pray for them to be surrounded by Godly friends and for them to be strong amidst the pressures found on college campuses today.

2. Call them. It’s not something that your kids will be used to, or even love at first if they are among the texting generation. Even if they don’t answer the phone, leave a short message. Soon enough they will pick up the phone and grow to love the conversations they have with you. Ask when a good time might be to call them. It may be a certain day and time that works best with their class schedule. This can help to make it an anticipated routine that you both look forward to.

3. Send a text. Even just an “I love you” or “Hope you have a great day” can make a world of difference. Just something to let them know you are there for them and thinking about them. Even if they don’t respond right away, they do appreciate it, so keep it up. Be sure to give them some space. Texting every hour on the hour (or super early in the morning) is not recommended.

4. Set a date. If your son or daughter lives somewhat close, set a date to just get some coffee. Make sure you set an actual date and time and put it in the calendar or it can often get lost in the shuffle. It gives you both something to look forward to and a chance to catch up.

5. Send a care package. For kids that may be living further away from home, send a box of goodies. Favorite snacks, a handwritten note, maybe some hygiene products, and go ahead and ask if they need anything in particular and send that too.

We are so blessed to live in a world where technology has advanced. Because of that, staying connected to your kids can be pretty easy to do. But, make sure to let your kids experience life on their own. Showing them that you are there is always worth the effort, and when they need you, they will come to you.

The things above are just the few things I appreciated as I ventured on my own. Of course, my venturing started just 20 miles down the road from my parents, but a text message or phone call was always appreciated.

Bethany Kuhlmann, DCE

Congregational Services – Lutheran Family Service

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