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Care Package for Your College Student: Ideas for Parents

Putting Your Love in a Box

By Bartleby
Courtesy of Associated Content

» Nonperishable food items will almost never go to waste.
» Quarters and blank CDs are practical.
» Don't forget a card and a touch of home.

When I was a freshman in college, most of the people on my floor received at least one care package from their parents by the end of the first semester. Especially during those critical first months of school, the unexpected goodie box from home is a welcome surprise - a way of showing a newly independent student that you're still there to provide support and care from a distance. Here are some ideas for parents who want to fill that cardboard box with a mix of practical and fun stuff for their college student.

Care Package Ideas

Healthy Snacks
Chances are that Joey and his friends eat enough pizza and chips and twinkies, so include some healthy snacks like granola, raisins, and dried fruit. A poor, hungry college student will eat anything - so sneak in some better stuff.

If you didn't send your college student off to school with a multi-vitamin, send some in a care package. They're most likely to get eaten if you roll back the clock to childhood and buy good old fruity Flintstones.

To balance out the healthy stuff, you've got to include some candy, too. Look for goofy stuff, like bizarrely licorice, Fun-dip, Pixy Stix, and anything that harkens back to childhood. First-semester freshmen have fun regressing.

If the dorm's laundry and vending machines take quarters, I can guarantee you they're a hot commodity.

College students love to watch movies in groups; it's always a welcome distraction. If possible, try to get a brand new release so that there's almost no chance anyone's bought it yet.

Hometown Newspaper
The transition from one community to another can make a freshman feel out of the loop, so include a recent copy of the local paper.

It's not something all parents feel comfortable doing, but if you and your student have open communication about sex and you know or believe he/she is sexually active, then why not? It may be a little awkward - but the point is that you're helping to provide a resource.

Blank CDs
Even with iPods aplenty, college students in residence halls still spend a lot of time burning CDs for each other to share music. It's also a great way for the student to back up documents.

Clothing Gift Card
Many college students, male and female alike, start to change their personal style as they make new friends and redefine what they see as cool. If you can afford it, give them a little extra purchasing power with a gift card to a hip store.

Something for the roommate
As a friendly gesture, you may want to include something small for your college student's roommate - maybe just some snacks or something you suspect he/she might like. If all else fails, a $5 gift card to a retailer is a thoughtful token of goodwill.

The "I Love You" Card
Make sure that you're taking time to express some sentiments in writing with a card or a note. As nice as all the little gifts can be, they're secondary to telling your college student that you care for and support them.

This article was reprinted with permission from Associated Content, The People's Media Company. Visit today to publish your own content and explore AC's growing multimedia library.

© 2007 Associated Content, Inc.
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