How to Help Your Child Settle into Their New Student Accommodation
When your child starts university, the transition period for them and you, as a parent, can be difficult. Adjusting to the change and challenge of a new city, meeting new people, and getting used to not being at home can be tricky, but there are things you can do to help your child adapt to their new surroundings.
Vita Student has created this guide featuring tips and advice on getting your child ready to move out, including a university packing list to make sure they have everything they need.
Without further ado, this is how you can help your child settle into their new student accommodation…
University Packing List: Everything Your Child Needs to Take to their new student accommodation
As a parent, you’ll have asked the question ‘Have you got everything?’, hundreds, if not thousands of times before. But, if your child’s moving hundreds of miles to university, they can’t just come back to grab what they leave behind.
Luckily for your child, and to save you from posting anything, we’ve created this university packing list of everything your child will need to take with them:
Everything Your Child Needs for the Kitchen
- Dried and tinned food, like rice, pasta, baked beans, and soup
- Cupboard essentials, like teabags and coffee
- Cups and glasses
- Plates and bowls
- Tupperware and foil or clingfilm to store food
- Pans, including saucepans and a frying pan or wok
- Cutlery, including kitchen knives
- Kitchen utensils, like spatulas and wooden spoons
- A chopping board
Everything Your Child Needs for Their Bedroom
- Bedding – duvets, duvet covers, pillows, pillowcases, fitted sheets, and a mattress protector
- Soft furnishings – rugs and cushions
- A clothes horse/airer and laundry basket
- Clothes, accessories (bags, hats, etc.), shoes, and coat hangers
- Home comforts – pictures of family and friends, posters, plants, and other decorations
- Stationery and books
- Technology – phones, laptops, tablets, a Bluetooth speaker, and a TV (if their room has the relevant sockets, make sure their TV licence is paid too!)
- A wallet with important documents, like their passport, ID, student finance information, etc.
- Medicine – paracetamol, vitamins, ibuprofen, and any other medication.
Everything Your Child Needs for Their Bathroom
- Shower gel and shampoo
- Toilet rolls
- Hand soap
- Toothbrush (and charger, if required), toothpaste and mouthwash
- Moisturiser and skincare products
- Nail clippers
MOVING IN DAY
Before your kid moves into their new student accommodation, you could double-check what facilities they will have available to them, to ensure your child has everything they need.
Travel arrangements on Moving Day
If it is viable, it’s a good idea to travel with your child to their new home. It can be an emotional goodbye, but it gives you the chance to give them one last hug and remind them they’re always welcome at your home.
If you can’t accompany your child to their university, e.g. if they’re an international student, you should make the trip to the airport with them. Another thing you could do is leave a note in their hand luggage to let them know you’re thinking of them and that you’re only a phone call away.
Taking your child to university can be emotional, it will likely be their first time leaving home, and it’s a big step in anyone’s life – both for children and their parents. While it may be a difficult journey to take, it’s important your child feels supported and like you’re there for them – they’ll probably be feeling just as emotional as you too.
Make sure they know what’s going on
Before your child arrives at their new home, make sure they know what the moving-in process is, so outstanding paperwork can be completed and your kid can get their keys.
Accommodation providers, like Vita Student, are well-versed in organising these days. Your child will receive a moving-in date and we’ll even help them take their bags up to their room.
Once they’re here and all signed in, we’ll help your kid find the laundry room and where their post will be dropped off, so there’s no unnecessary stress later on.
Helping Your Child Set up Their New Home
To help your child settle into living on their own, you should spend the preceding months before they move out teaching them to do things they’ll need to know. Whether you’re showing them how to make nutritious meals, telling them how to use the washing machine, or even how to sew buttons back on their clothes.
Another thing you should be involved in is helping your child pick their accommodation. You’ll have a better idea of the amenities and facilities they’ll need. And, if you’re paying for your child’s accommodation, you’ll want to know you’re getting good value for money.
If your child’s moving into one of our locations this year, explore everything you need to know about moving to Vita Student in our blog.
Decorating their room
One of the best things about moving into uni accommodation is having a new room to make your own. You should encourage your child to decorate their new space – plants especially are a great addition due to their biophilic benefits and the life they inject into a room.
Similarly, pictures of friends and family will make them smile and be a nice reminder of the people they love. Check out our blog for more tips on how your child can decorate their Vita Student room.
Helping Them Manage Their Finances
Another important skill to teach your child is how to manage their money. In the UK, student loans are deposited into students’ accounts in lump sums, three times a year – making it very tempting to splash out on clothes or go out with their friends.
Showing your kids how to set aside money for things like food, rent and books, will help them exponentially when you’re not around to do it for them. Budgeting is a valuable skill for later in life too, and it’ll hopefully mean they have to visit ‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’ a bit less…
One way to do this is by working out how much money your child will have left after all of their bills are paid and then transferring this money to a savings account. From their savings account, they can set up a direct debit to transfer their spendable allowance each month.
Removing the whole balance from their current account will make it easier to resist spending large amounts on things they don’t need or can’t afford.
A popular bonus of being a student is all of the student discounts, so encourage your child to shop around and see if they can save any money. The National Union of Students (NUS) offers its TOTUM card to students, allowing them to save in shops and online.
Coping with Homesickness
Being away from you will be one of the biggest challenges your child faces at university, and the first few weeks and months can be difficult for both of you. To help your child settle in their new surroundings, there are a few things you can do:
Make sure their university knows about existing mental or physical health problems
Universities are very understanding when it comes to managing and assisting students with mental or physical health problems, and there will be extensive support available to your child.
Making the university aware of anything will allow them to make the necessary adjustments and arrangements to ensure your child is more comfortable.
Open days are a great opportunity to learn more about the support that will be available to your child, but you’ll also be able to get in touch with the pastoral services at any time.
Be there for them
When your child moves out, they may feel like they have to be completely independent and fend for themselves. This isn’t the case, so making sure they know you’re there for them can be very comforting.
Whether you’re arranging regular phone and video calls, or telling your child they’re free to come home at any time. You should remind your child that the distance between you and them is only geographical.
Make a plan
Your child will likely settle in really well at university, embracing their independence and making new friends. With this being said, it’s ok to have things in place if things don’t go according to plan.
The plan could be anything from scheduling weekends for your child to come home, to making arrangements for if your kid wants to leave uni altogether. Remember, by doing this, you’re not setting your child up to fail, you’re helping them keep all of their options open.
Remind them that leaving home is a big step
Leaving home is a big step for everyone, but the independence it affords you helps you grow and is a natural part of life. As their parent, you should be understanding that leaving home might not be easy for your child, but it helps them become responsible and find out who they really are.
Don’t forget, if your child’s moving to a Vita Student location this year, we’re here to help too. We understand that settling in and making friends can be challenging, so we organise loads of social events and activities to ensure people can get introduced to each other.
Additionally, Mental health and well-being support is available at each of our locations too, so your child can speak to someone face-to-face if they want to.
Now you’re fully prepared for your child to start university and live at Vita Student, but remember, if you need anything else, we’re here for you. Feel free to get in touch with any questions or concerns.
Alternatively, the Parents section of our website has lots of helpful information, like FAQs for parents, and more.