I’ll never forget when my older sister went off to college. Even though she would only be an hour’s drive away, I was completely heartbroken. She tried to cheer me up but I was inconsolable. Although that happened decades ago I still remember it like it was yesterday. Oh yes, I eventually got over it and made the necessary adjustment. We laugh at it today. But when an older sibling heads off to college it can be a somewhat traumatic experience for the younger siblings left behind. Here are some tips that might help in the process.
Quality time – About a year before going off to school spend as much time with your younger siblings as you can. A lot of children love bragging about their older siblings. To them they are like a superhero. Do some things that they like to do or attend special events at their school
Validate their feelings – Let the younger siblings know that you love them and how special they are to you. Let them know that even though you may not be living at home any more you are still their big brother or big sister. Nothing will change that relationship.
Expectations –Let them know that you expect them to make good grades in school because that will help them when it’s time for them to go to college. Good grades may also allow them to get scholarships.
Keep them informed – Let them know where you are going to college. This can easily be done by getting a map and routing the distance from your home to what state your college is. Show them the website of the school so they can become somewhat familiar with where you are and the different courses you will be taking.
Make a commitment to contact them at least once a week initially – With modern technology this can easily be done via email, texting, Skype, Facebook or simply an old-fashioned handwritten letter.
Helping you pack – Let them become a part of the action by helping you pack and gather things that you will need for your college experience.
Departure date – If your family will be traveling to take you to your college dorm take several pictures with your younger siblings. This will give them a sense of comfort because they know exactly where you will be living.
No doubt it will take time for both the older and younger siblings to adjust. But by taking simple steps the transitioning process might be a little easier for all parties involved.
Personal experience and suggestions