Back-to-School: 10 Tips for Staying Close with Your College Kids

Monday, August 12, 2019/Categories: Home Internet

Long summer days are getting shorter. Stores are promoting back-to-school sales. As our children grow up, those supply lists may change, but some things stay the same: that combination of excitement and trepidation kids face at the start of a new school year.

And guess what?

It doesn’t get better as they get older. College-age students moving away might be just as nervous, in their own way, as those tiny kindergarteners getting on a school bus for the first time.

Fortunately, your Consolidated Communications (CCI) Internet and Wi-Fi make it easier than ever to stay in touch with your littles who are not-so-little anymore.

Coordinate with your college freshmen and make plans to keep connected through social media, text, and FaceTime for everyday communications. Then, consider these ideas to add long-distance fun to your interactions.

1. Send Them Off to School Stocked with Tunes

Do your family’s best memories revolve around music? Maybe it’s singing carols around the Christmas tree, or the Taylor Swift concert you attended together in the summer of 11th grade. Of course, there’s always the vacation road-trip music Dad loves — and everyone else loves to hate.

Create a playlist for the drive to school or create multiple playlists for different occasions: When you’re missing home, when you’re having fun, when you’re studying. Spotify now offers a collaborative playlist feature, so your college student can add to the list, and the whole family can share it.

2. Bring Your Cheering to Their Streaming

Remember when your kids were smaller and would bore you with tours of the worlds they created in Minecraft or a detailed account of the latest season of Fortnite? You miss that now, don’t you?

Sign up for Twitch, the fast-growing streaming platform, and sign in to watch your college kids play Overwatch and Fortnite in real-time while you cheer them on.

3. Host a “Houseparty”

There’s a good chance your college student is already using Houseparty to stay connected with high school friends. This group video chat app lets you set up a private chat room so you can talk face-to-face with the whole family. You can also play games on the platform.

4. Play Games

In between studying and making new friends, it may be hard for your college kid to find time to video chat with the fam. Instead, start a mobile game where you can each make your moves at your leisure. Popular options include Chess, Words with Friends, Trivia Crack Kingdoms, or Maze King.

5. Share a Photo Account

Your college kids might not be on Facebook – or they might refuse to friend you on the platform. Share photos with a password-protected photo account through Shutterfly or Google Drive, so you can celebrate special moments even if you’re miles apart.

6. Start a Family Blog

Do you communicate better in words than photos? A family blog is a great way to keep your college kids up to date on big family news, share advice, or even funny stories about life back at home. Encourage your college kids to make posts of their own.

Unlike advertising-driven, for-profit blogs you read, you don’t have to worry about attracting massive numbers of readers on your family blog. You can even password-protect your blog so only family members can read it. Start out on an intuitive platform like Blogger, WordPress, or Medium and start creating your online journal of family events.

7. Binge Together

Use your family’s Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and/or other streaming accounts to binge the same shows at the same time. You can simultaneously chat, by phone, text or a group text, to share your impressions and excitement. I mean, who could even believe Game of Thrones ended like that?

8. Send Creative Care Packages

You might remember your own parents sending you care packages of your favorite food and magazines from back home. Your CCI internet connection makes it easier than ever to choose the perfect care package and have it delivered directly to your college kid’s dorm.

Japanese snack boxes are the latest trend. Sending a box of snacks from Bokksu to share with the dorm will earn your kid mad kudos. Or give your gift international flair with care packages from Universal Yums, shipped monthly.

9. Get Fit Together

After sending all those goodies, you may want to find a way to help your college kid avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Use your CCI Wi-Fi to download the free MyFitnessPal app to your phone and encourage the whole family to friend each other. Track your calories, macros, and exercise. Then, set up fitness challenges for the family to compete together. All your hard work can culminate in a fitness event like an obstacle race, a color run, or a 5K when your college kid comes home for spring break.

10. Capture Memories by Becoming Video Stars

All you need to become a YouTube star today is a smartphone or video camera and a solid CCI internet or Wi-Fi connection. Of course, imagination, talent, and a bit of luck help, too. But who says you can’t have fun creating and sharing videos of your adventures? Even if your college student doesn’t want to participate, you can create content back home for college kids to watch in the dorm. You may not achieve the acclaim of The Holderness Family, but you’re making memories and potentially embarrassing — we mean connecting with — your college kids all at the same time. That’s a win-win.

With lightning-fast Wi-Fi through your CCI internet connection, you won't miss a moment of bonding with your college kids.

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