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How did those of you with kids already in college establish a contact routine?

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I might be phrasing that awkwardly. I am not a phone-a-phile; neither is DD. We have hardly ever spoken on the phone, though we text each other often. I am not sure if I should try to establish some type of regular check-in when she goes off to college, or just see how it unfolds. I don't want to be meddlesome, but I also don't want her to think I have just turned her out and that's that, KWIM?

 

I was thinking maybe at the end of her first week, say, Friday afternoon, I'll send a text if I haven't heard from her, and then see how it plays out, whether that should become a somewhat regular check-in, or just every few weeks send a text hoping all is well.

 

I'm sorry I sound so emotionally obtuse here, but parents did not give me guidance at all in early adulthood and I did not go to college then. I always felt that my parents should have offered a little input now and then, so I would see them as help and guidance. So, this is what I want to establish with DD; I want her to know we're here for her and care, but without being too helicoptering. So I plan to give her little connections back to us, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

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We kept everything casual -- when we left DS at school we said something along the lines of "Text us once in awhile so we know you're still alive."  And for the first week or two there were enough things he needed to check in about/get our advice on that it wasn't a problem.  As the year went on the texting was more sporadic, and that was okay.  If we went much more than a week or so w/o hearing from him I'd try to come up with some interesting little thing to text him about (family stuff, a news event, a picture of the dog being particularly cute, etc.) or DH would text him to make some sports related observation, etc.

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When dh and I were in college, making a weekly phone call to parents was the norm. Most students we knew seemed to follow that general pattern.

 

We told our kids when they set off for college that we would be delighted to hear from them more often, but that we expected a weekly phone call at a minimum..

 

The level of contact maintained by each of our kids varied WIDELY. One called almost daily until her senior year of college, while one needed a little email reminder to make that weekly phone call. One still calls about weekly but talks for nearly two hours when he calls, while another calls more often for shorter periods. We don't really text our kids at all, so phone calls plus random emails are our mode of communication, but our youngest has a health issue that makes some sort of daily interaction a bit more desirable, so we have told her that we would appreciate a daily "hi there" text.

 

How often our kids contact us depends hugely on what is going on in their lives, with intense drama resulting in a rapid increase in the level of contact.

 

Find out what mode of communication works for your dd -- is she a text person, a phone person, a Skype person, a PM person, or other?

 

Set a minimum expectations, and go from there. You can and should set minimum expectations, but her need for parental interaction will probably depend a lot on her life situation.

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My boys check in daily since they have been at college.  At first I was impressed....but then I realized that they called me on their routine "down" times like walking home after a night class or having 15 minutes to kill while waiting every day for girlfriend's schedule to mesh for lunch.  But you know what?  I am not insulted.  I like the contact even if it is just hi!

 

Myra

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I haven't really enjoyed talking on the phone since high school, but my kids and I do love to keep in touch. 

 

We often go through a string of texts each day...usually it seems to involve a question one of has, but sometimes I'll just let them know I'm thinking about them, or they'll ask me how I'm doing.  It's about half and half as to who initiates the text, but it's not something we ever think about.  It just happens.  We end up talking on the phone now and then, but usually not more than once/week, if that.  I don't like just chit-chatting over the phone, and my kids mostly don't either.  But every now and then, we just need time to have a good long conversation.

 

We also have Snapchat, which we have a lot of fun with.  We often Snapchat each other doing goofy things throughout our day.  We do that nearly every day!

 

When my first daughter went off to college, I didn't contact her much because I was too busy with our big family emergency.  She eventually called me on it and asked me why I never returned her texts!  Since then, I'm much better at it. 

 

If we don't hear from one another in a week, it's not a big deal either. 

 

The only thing we really try and schedule is Skyping.  We try and do that once/month or so.

 

I will say that my girls seem to want to keep in more regular contact than my son.  I mean, he's great about it, but he's not into the "social texting" as much!

 

I'm sure part of the frequency with our family is my kids' genuine concern over me and making sure I'm doing okay.  So part of it is that they're just being nice.  :)

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My ds just contacted us a lot. But that was a sign the school wasn't right for him even though he didn't say that. He's leaving for a new school in a couple weeks. I'm not going to insist he contact us. Maybe I will get worried and start calling him. We'll see...

 

Thinking back to college, I did not call home that often. Not once a week. I guess with all the phone/text/email/social media options people have come to expect a lot of contact. I know I will miss my dc and I will like emails/text/phone. I actually write letters and send small care packages (moms gf brownies). my parents never sent care packages. Getting a package usually results in a phone call.

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I don't remember telling dd a minimum.  We are 15 minutes away though.  Maybe that's why?  A friend of middle dd thought we were seeing oldest every 2 weeks.  Seeing her.  I don't think it was that often.  But we'll just haul off and text or email or whatever if we haven't heard from her in a while.  While she was in Germany (last semester) we sort of fell into face-timing every Monday.  I think we talked with her more often when she was 4000 miles away than when she was 10.  We'll probably do the same thing with her.

 

Middle dd is going off this year, but an hour away.  I bet we'll do the same with her.  Except not see her as much.  Although...  We can afford season tickets to middle child's football games.  Not so much with oldest. 

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My plan is occasional texts, at least every other day at first unless she initiates more.  Then hopefully a face-time call once a week in the beginning?  

 

She's asking me how often I'll send care packages - I'm thinking once a month?  

 

I don't want to hover, but I don't want to neglect.  I want her to take the lead, but I don't want to make her feel forgotten.  It seems like we'll all be learning where our contact comfort zones are during that first month.  

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We followed the advice to let the college freshman decide when and how often to establish contact and held off calling her.

She quickly established a routine of calling us while she is walking from dorm to campus (15 minute walk) and it has become a habit. She calls while she walks between places, sometimes even several times  a day, but often just for a couple of minutes. Works great for us.

 

At the  beginning, I sent cards  frequently.

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One thing I've found useful is to get a printed copy of the schedule for the semester. I'm more likely to get a text or call back if I make mine during freer times.

 

The other thing I have done, for many years, is to write a letter, EVERY SINGLE DAY! I never thought they were that big of a deal, but my kids have saved them. They aren't terribly deep or long, more on the lines of "It rained, your sister is looking at horses, and how did your SAR flight/exam/project/concert go?". Last night I told the older kids that their youngest sister swam across the lake with the team, we got the first land raked and baled, and that the swather is broken, again. first My goal, especially for the freshman year, is to have something in the mailbox every day. Those letters were a lifeline for Plebe Year at the Academy. I've branched out to roommates, squadron mates, husbands, and folks who are deployed. My kids all get me pretty cards for birthdays and Christmas--I send a card about once a week. 

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Funny story -- when my older brother headed off to college my mother didn't make her expectations about communication clear. He didn't call and didn't call and didn't call for over a month.....(and this was decades before cell phones and texting, obviously)

 

Finally my mother called the university to ask if my brother were still alive. The university said that they could not and would  not take messages or confirm that my brother had been in classes or anything.... My mother totally freaked. She went to the university and sat outside his dorm until he came out with some friends, talking and totally unaware of her presence.  She left without making her presence known, comforted to know that he was alive and kicking.

 

But when I went off to college she did establish some very firm minimum contact expectations!

 

So there is something to be said for being open about some kind of contact routine, though with cell phones that is probably unnecessary these days.

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Finally my mother called the university to ask if my brother were still alive. The university said that they could not and would  not take messages or confirm that my brother had been in classes or anything.... My mother totally freaked. She went to the university and sat outside his dorm until he came out with some friends, talking and totally unaware of her presence.  She left without making her presence known, comforted to know that he was alive and kicking.

 

 

Aw, what a good woman. How far away was the school from your home?

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We never set expectations with oldest and rarely heard from him.  My younger two saw this happening and in our discussions all of us pretty much agreed that weekly was nice.

 

They ALWAYS call us as they know their schedule - we do not.  Yes, we'd know classes, but my guys are involved in a bit more than classes.  If we need to get hold of them I send an e-mail or text pending how much info I need to share.

 

Often they set up times to call us via FB with hubby.

 

They'll also call when something exciting (usually good) has happened.  I love that they share those moments with us!

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One thing I've found useful is to get a printed copy of the schedule for the semester. I'm more likely to get a text or call back if I make mine during freer times.

 

The other thing I have done, for many years, is to write a letter, EVERY SINGLE DAY! I never thought they were that big of a deal, but my kids have saved them. They aren't terribly deep or long, more on the lines of "It rained, your sister is looking at horses, and how did your SAR flight/exam/project/concert go?". Last night I told the older kids that their youngest sister swam across the lake with the team, we got the first land raked and baled, and that the swather is broken, again. first My goal, especially for the freshman year, is to have something in the mailbox every day. Those letters were a lifeline for Plebe Year at the Academy. I've branched out to roommates, squadron mates, husbands, and folks who are deployed. My kids all get me pretty cards for birthdays and Christmas--I send a card about once a week.

You really did this? That's impressive! So did you have like a little routine; write letter in the evning talking about the day's events and then mail it off the next morning?

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My plan is occasional texts, at least every other day at first unless she initiates more. Then hopefully a face-time call once a week in the beginning?

 

She's asking me how often I'll send care packages - I'm thinking once a month?

 

I don't want to hover, but I don't want to neglect. I want her to take the lead, but I don't want to make her feel forgotten. It seems like we'll all be learning where our contact comfort zones are during that first month.

I've been thinking about the care packages, too. I was kinda thinking once a month, but I'm not sure.

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We mostly communicate through Facebook messages. Our phones are registered in different countries so we try to avoid international texting. We do talk on the phone approximately every other week. It has been fine.

 

I have sent one care package in two years.

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We let my daughter take the lead in getting in touch with us.  This was in large part due to my husband's experiences with his family while he was in college; he was required to come home each weekend (about 150 miles by car) due to an emotionally needy parent.  Consequently, my husband did not want our daughter to feel in any way pressured.  She emailed.  She also chatted on-line when she saw that we had our email accounts open; she was always 'invisible' so chatted only when she had the time or inclination to do so.  We also Skyped from time to time. Occasionally, if there was a pressing issue, I would contact her and ask her to call.  Once in a while she would phone just to talk.   It's funny -- I would get the laundry and banking questions (i.e., "What is it I'm supposed to write on the back of the check?") while my husband would get the cooking and Excel questions.

 

I tried to send a piece of mail such as a card, comic strip, or a magazine article that might interest her every month or so.  I also sent care packages for Halloween, exams, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc.  (Sometimes I'd include an envelope or box in her luggage and ask her to save it for an upcoming occasion.)  Flat rate postal boxes were my friends!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Our youngest two are on Facebook, though not super active.  We're Facebook friends and as long as I see some activity, I assume they're fine. Now we have snapchat and ds uses that to send me pics every week or so. 

 

Dd has been in Japan since end of March and has no phone so snapchat and Facebook have replaced texting. I wonder if she'll go back to texting once she's home- she says she finds not being tied to a phone very freeing. Ds prefers email to contact us, and I'm fine with that. 

 

Last year dd worked two late shifts at her school library and walked home after midnight. She did text when she got home, and even though I didn't see them until the next day, at least I knew when I woke up that she made it home ok. 

 

Kids can be weird- dd contacts me more when things are going ok but ds contacts me more when things are NOT going as well as he wants. Took me a while to figure that out. 

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One thing I've found useful is to get a printed copy of the schedule for the semester. I'm more likely to get a text or call back if I make mine during freer times.

 

The other thing I have done, for many years, is to write a letter, EVERY SINGLE DAY! I never thought they were that big of a deal, but my kids have saved them. They aren't terribly deep or long, more on the lines of "It rained, your sister is looking at horses, and how did your SAR flight/exam/project/concert go?". Last night I told the older kids that their youngest sister swam across the lake with the team, we got the first land raked and baled, and that the swather is broken, again. first My goal, especially for the freshman year, is to have something in the mailbox every day. Those letters were a lifeline for Plebe Year at the Academy. I've branched out to roommates, squadron mates, husbands, and folks who are deployed. My kids all get me pretty cards for birthdays and Christmas--I send a card about once a week. 

 

I'm impressed with your dedication to letter writing- and I think ds would love to get letters from me. Thanks for putting the idea into my head. But you sure set the bar high! A letter a day?  You're an awesome mom. 

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We had no set schedule regarding contact.  My "go to" way of reaching out and letting her know I was thinking of her was to text her cute pictures of the cat.  She would respond, I knew she was alive, and all was well.  She did not have a strong need to leave us all behind, nor did I have reason to be afraid for her beyond the normal stuff.  I gave her my best advice and drove off.  She was only an hour away, so I did get her to agree to have lunch with me one weekend about a month into her first semester, and that helped me a lot.  Mostly, other than the cat pictures, I let her decide the amount of contact, and it worked out.  We had a good relationship when she left for college (and that continues).  She also knows that sometimes I worry and just need to hear from her, and she indulges this.

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Wait!  There is supposed to be contact?

 

Mine consists of texting him "POL" on occasion.  If I get lucky, he will text back.

 

POL = proof of life (learned it on TWTM board)

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We do a weekly phone call with some intermittant texting. We did lay out the expectation of a weekly phone call before ds left. The texting was more open-ended. I let him take the lead on that. I have to admit that he just isn't as communicative as I would like him to be.

 

I typically send a care package once a month. That actually gives me an excuse to text because I can track it and let him know when it gets to the post office. I often send baked goods, so time is of the essence. I, too, am impressed by the daily letter writing, but that wouldn't work for us as ds doesn't go the post office very often. This was proven when the ambulance bill (after his knee dislocation - NOT an alcohol transport!!!) remained in there untouched for a month! Not good. We had told him to go look for it, but he clearly didn't. When we talked later during a weekly phone call, and I told him he might want to check his mailbox for a card from me (that had some moolah in it), within 20 minutes we received a picture of the "missing" ambulance bill! We really have no idea how they even got that address, as all his other medical bills came to our home address. Anyway, I can't see ds going to the mailbox on a daily basis. I will say that when I attended my month-long summer camp every year, my mother wrote every day, and I truly appreciated it.

 

On the care packages...three of them were "group" care packages. I and some other mom friends of freshman would get together and pack care packages for all our kids together. We organized via a group on Facebook. Everyone would post what they were bringing so we didn't get duplicates. One mom always brought card stock and we would make cards to each individual dc. Everyone signed them writing short, personalized notes. It was BYOB - Bring Your Own Box. It was a great way for us to stay in touch with each other and hear how all our kids were doing. We did an autumn/Halloween one, a Valentine's Day one, and a Finals one (which was mid-terms for ds).

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At the orientation weekend, they told us to call our kids on Thursday or Friday. They have statics that kids who talk to their parents on Thursday or Friday make better decisions regarding drug and alcohol usage in the weekend. One also mentioned to have killed ds call you while they are doing laundry, they are stuck in the laundry room so they might as well talk to their Mom.

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If you text each other now it's likely she will keep it up for the most part. I couldn't wait a week to hear from my dd in the beginning. Ask her how she wants to handle it. I text or my dd texts and we answer if we are able. For those who don't chat on the phone an occasional Skype session is nice. Ds is away this summer.  And yes those pictures of his cat work every time!

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I used to mail every day, but when dh lost his job a year ago, I can't afford the postage. I still mail once a day for freshmen, but not the others--they go out every 3 days or so. Yep, I write every night. When there are extras (dhs deployed, etc) it can take awhile. Today I'll mention that youngest had her swim team party, and that Army girl headed to WY, and that I can produce an extra dog off of what I brushed out of the Golden Retriever. Oh, and that the aggressive pup tried to take on his dad tonight--it was pretty funny. The kids like newspaper clippings--I have one for everyone today about a friend who makes jewelry. And since my kids are in a LOT of musical things, I always get extra programs to include. During county fair, I tuck in the programs from the sheep show, etc. During Plebe Year, dd could only get standard size white envelopes, written in black, with flag stamps on them. She could not get photos, but if the photo was printed ON the piece of mail, the detailers could not take it away from her. Once Plebe Summer was over, we could start sending goodies in care packages, but you have to send enough for the entire company! Our church has little devotional books--a Bible reading and thought for the day sort of thing, and I rip them up and put in one with each letter. If the kid is headed out on deployment/detachment/concert tour, I keep writing and then mail off a batch once I get a new address. My mom used to send me Peanuts cartoons... 

 

One thing I did for Plebe Summer was to have friends write on the back of photos. My plan was to send them as postcards, but the detailers make the Plebes read postcards out loud, so I started to put them in letters. I had a whole bunch of inspirational quotes that I'd close every letter with. Dd was particularly  fond of Winston Churchill. Since they were only allowed 3 three minute phone calls through the whole summer, mail was a big deal. 

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If you text each other now it's likely she will keep it up for the most part. I couldn't wait a week to hear from my dd in the beginning. Ask her how she wants to handle it. I text or my dd texts and we answer if we are able. For those who don't chat on the phone an occasional Skype session is nice. Ds is away this summer. And yes those pictures of his cat work every time!

dD is very attached to the cats. Thanks, Hive, for giving me a great idea. I can definitely text her a picture of the cat saying, "Thor is looking for you." She would love that. Maybe I'll send her a letter "written" by Thor. Lol! She will crack up.

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dD is very attached to the cats. Thanks, Hive, for giving me a great idea. I can definitely text her a picture of the cat saying, "Thor is looking for you." She would love that. Maybe I'll send her a letter "written" by Thor. Lol! She will crack up.

Thor journaling the family's weekly activities, adding his opinions would be a fun communication.

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dD is very attached to the cats. Thanks, Hive, for giving me a great idea. I can definitely text her a picture of the cat saying, "Thor is looking for you." She would love that. Maybe I'll send her a letter "written" by Thor. Lol! She will crack up.

 

When face timing dd while she was in Germany, I would grab whichever animal I could and hold it up to the screen.  DD was always pleased.  None of the animals understood it though.  

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I would suggest that whatever types of communication you'd like to have while she's away you start up now while she's still home.   Skype needs to be set up and that's something you can do together.  While texting and emailing is great, I think it's also important to be able to hear them or see and hear them at least once in a while.  As moms we can hear their emotions as it's sometimes conveyed more in voice than in actual words.  And news of four-leggeds always is more fun than that of the two-leggeds.  As far as letting her know that you're there for her and want to stay in touch, just tell her that.  Texts and news may be slow to arrive during orientation and all as they are kept really busy and are enjoying their independence a bit too.

 

Edited to add that the above is what we did.  Dd was already a full-time college student, although a commuter, so we were used to communicating via phone and text.   We set up Skype, and while the picture and sound aren't ideal, it was great to be able to see each other, especially towards the beginning of the first semester.  Skype is also great for them to see their four-leggeds.
We never set up a time to connect and phone conversations often happen while she's waiting, or walking or in transit.  

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I have put some of these ideas on my ipad calendar...for the year 2020 when my oldest will go off to college. Don't want to forget them in the 5 intervening years!

 

My parents waved goodbye when I drove away when I got married (at 19) and then pretty much never initiated contact again. It was wrenching. Even if your student doesn't respond all the time, I think it'd be nice to hear from home. There doesn't have to be a lot of pressure for the student to respond, but it's nice to know that mom and dad are around if needed.

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My parents waved goodbye when I drove away when I got married (at 19) and then pretty much never initiated contact again. It was wrenching. Even if your student doesn't respond all the time, I think it'd be nice to hear from home. There doesn't have to be a lot of pressure for the student to respond, but it's nice to know that mom and dad are around if needed.

What a sad story!

 

My goal with my dd is to keep us in the front of her mind, so she is aware we are there if she needs us.  Our relationship does not need tons of time for upkeep at this stage, so we are both enjoying that.  But yes, I want her to know she is still "with us" and that we are still with her.  The cat texts serve that purpose nicely.  "Hey, mom thought of me and send me a little piece of home in this text."

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  We text daily. He gives us his schedule. I suppose it's because we're a family of talkers; it seems normal to keep it up while he's away. He usually calls us once or twice a week. I'll send him interesting links and he sends me random, odd photos of things he sees on campus.

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We arranged to Skype every weekend.  Normally, the whole family sits down and Skypes Calvin - sometimes just one or two of us do.  In between times, we just text or Facebook message him if something occurs to us - not every day, sometimes not every week.  We like having that structure, and hope that the weekly contact will continue beyond university.

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In the first week or so of school, we talked to the boys every day.  After their routine got established, we asked them to call us every Sunday afternoon or evening, at their convenience.  If they weren't able to chat for 15 minutes or so, they would text and say they were unable to talk (usually due to study groups or cramming for an exam).  Otherwise they just texted throughout the week if something came up (it rarely did).  I prefer calls to texts because you can hear the voice and can tell a lot more about their wellbeing than through merely texting.

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We are having to do this with our youngest this summer because he's out and about a lot. All I do is send a text saying "Check in, please" and he eventually responds and lets us know his whereabouts and plans. If he's going to be out after dh and I go to bed, which is about 10 pm, then he sends a smiley to my cell phone when he gets home.

 

He'll be close by during college and we plan to have Sunday brunch with him.

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I will say that my girls seem to want to keep in more regular contact than my son.  I mean, he's great about it, but he's not into the "social texting" as much!

 

No first hand experience with boys, but my friends with boys say they are happy if they hear from them every four weeks. :mellow:   My dd wanted to Skype almost every night her freshman year.  Now, in her first year of grad school, we tend to Skype every 2 weeks or so.

 

OP, you might see what your student wants to do.  My dd and I are like you, we have never been phone people (and my dd sounds like she's about to cry on the phone, even if she's had the best day of her life).  We tried Skype before she left home, so we knew its "weaknesses" - not the best audio OR video but we all agreed it was the closest thing to being right there.  And we've never paid a dime for Skype.  Several times when my dd did study abroad, she was in Europe, dh was in Asia, and I was in the US - but we could all Skype.  For free.  Pretty amazing :)

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I did talk with DD today about this subject. (We were heading over to Target, buying dorm stuff and supplies.) She said she didn't want to have some standardized time to phone; she felt that would just feel too contrived. She did think we would probably text similarly to what we do now - sometimes informational, other times just something silly or funny we want to share. She did also confirm that phone calls are far down on her list of favorites. I said I agreed, but that I would hope she would feel free to call me on the phone if she was upset about something; texting in such a case is too removed.

 

I am going to surprise her with the letters from Thor. I am already coming up with some ideas that she will think are hillarious, like Thor sending her a "selfie" while he's lying on the dog's bed, all sprawled out. :D I almost can't wait to do the Thor letters!

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dD is very attached to the cats. Thanks, Hive, for giving me a great idea. I can definitely text her a picture of the cat saying, "Thor is looking for you." She would love that. Maybe I'll send her a letter "written" by Thor. Lol! She will crack up.

 

 

Oh, definitely have the cat write! Make sure to sign it with a paw print. Our horses, dogs, and cats write every so often. 

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If you can, send a letter or two before school starts--it's pretty cool to have something waiting. There's always a line at the PO at the Academy on I-Day, with parents mailing stuff before they leave the Yard. 

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With my oldest, my husband forbade me from contacting our son at school because he did not want our kid to feel smothered.  That was the longest 7 days.  Finallly, I sent a text, asking if he was alive.  We usually texted or called once every 2 weeks or more often if there was a "crisis that needed to be solved yesterday" (that wasn't really that bad and I needed to talk him down from the ledge.)  With my second, I feel that we should have had a more strict contact schedule.  This kid had some serious mental health issues the winter before leaving and relapsed at school, big time.  I knew something was wrong because they were ignoring my texts.  If K goes back to school this fall, we will require a weekly Skype date to make sure that they are doing OK.  That will be a condition of me paying the following tuition for the following term. 

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dD is very attached to the cats. Thanks, Hive, for giving me a great idea. I can definitely text her a picture of the cat saying, "Thor is looking for you." She would love that. Maybe I'll send her a letter "written" by Thor. Lol! She will crack up.

 

My kids are super attached to the cat. Dd loved getting snapchats or pics from the cat but admitted that if she was already having a tough day that it just made her miss her cat even more. 

 

Ds says he just likes getting stuff from the cat and when I asked if it made him miss the cat more he looked at me as if that was a stupid question. 

 

Both kids are home for the next seven days- and the cat is shunning them.  Haha!

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No established routine but dd checks in with us around once a week. She also communicates with siblings so sometimes I find out what she's up to through them.

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No established routines. I have always had the kid's' class schedules and if it has been more than a week since they initiated contact I call or text them. My kids have always been pretty well connected with us emotionally. Each one has a different "contact personality" in terms of preferred amount and type of contact.

 

I did go through two periods where I worried about a kid because of a change in communication. One time, there was something to be concerned about, though the kid never failed to respond to POL type calls. Another kid went through a period of being very upset with me and needing to establish her independence. I never worried about POL because she lived with her sister and knew I would hear about it if there were any concern for safety.

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I have discovered that I can send bags of candy through Amazon prime. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. 

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I have discovered that I can send bags of candy through Amazon prime. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. 

 

Hmmm.  Ds said something about getting free amazon prime since he's a student.  I'll have to ask him if I can use it to send him stuff.  He may even respond to that question... :glare:

 

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Without reading any other responses, I'll just say what we did. If we did not call, we wouldn't hear from ds.  Even though he loves us, he is absolutely terrible about maintaining connections.  So I asked him at the beginning of freshman year if he would like to take regularly, and when he said yes, and decided on weekly, we chose a night that usually works for him.  It changes based on his schedule, and we text first to make sure it's a good time.  We send the phone around so all of us talk and in fact he now probably talks more to his brothers than he did when he was home.  Works for us.

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We asked my son to call us once a week. He would usually tell us ahead of time when he planned to call but sometimes he just called randomly too.

 

At first, he balked at our request for communication, but soon into the school year, he was voluntarily communicating with us a few times a week. A few text exchanges and a phone call once a week seemed to happen naturally. And sometimes he even called to ask for advice or just because he wanted to talk to us!

 

I think it helped when he finally understood that it wasn't about trust or judgement of his ability to cope or helicopter parenting, etc. - it's just that we love him and miss him and really enjoy spending time with him.

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I hear from ds a fair amount, because, once again, he will have gotten lost in Denver! He needed to get from Golden to Louisville to meet up with his sister who was in for a music thing. The day before it was to get him to the hospital to see another sister. 

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We have a weekly Skype or FaceTime session, usually on Sunday afternoon, but movable depending on my daughter's schedule. Skype and FaceTime are what we have used for years to keep in touch with our families in Spain and Sri Lanka, and with my husband when he travels, so it is a very natural form of communication.

 

In between, we use Facebook to message each other stuff randomly. I do use our dog as a good excuse to send her pictures of our activities. Even if she doesn't respond I know she has seen it!

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We leave Wed to take ds to school, and he moves in to his dorm on Thurs. Friday he leaves for 3 days of fish camp.  If he hasn't contacted me by 10 pm Sunday night, I'll txt and ask how it went.  He's actually better at texting and calling than his sisters.  When they leave in 2 years, I'm probably going to have to badger them for contact.  He's on check in crew for the other freshman who move in the following week, so I'll probably text then, too.  Just to see how it went of course.  :D  I think a once a week check in,  isn't too much to ask.  

 

I'm hoping I remember to do care packages for midterms and finals.  I'm not good at mailing stuff.  

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