With nearly 30 million high school and college students returning to school this fall, many parents are now feeling the effect of last-minute shopping, spending and a host of other exhausting details associated with getting their children back into the hallowed halls of higher learning.
With many students traveling away to school — perhaps for the first time — here are some ideas that parents will not want to overlook to help their children feel more at ease and in touch with home:
— Lighten their load by mailing some essential items ahead of their arrival. Parcel post or Priority Mail offered by the Postal Service are economical choices for sending extra clothing, a CD player, alarm clock, fan or other small electronic appliance, reference books, software manuals and so forth. Packing materials are available at postal retail outlets. Let the post office do the heavy work.
— Be sure to send along some special personal items, from posters to framed family photos to stuffed animals and mementos.
— Purchase pens, stationery and postage stamps to make it a breeze for them to write home.
— Give them an address book and fill it out with phone numbers and addresses of friends and family. They will appreciate it when they want to write or call.
— Make sure they do call home by giving them a pre-paid phone card. The FirstClass PhoneCard is available at many post offices nationwide or by calling 1-800-297-POST (7678). Backed by the U.S. Postal Service and American Express, the cards are both rechargeable and replaceable if lost or stolen and are available in a variety of denominations.
— Ensure their mail goes with them by having them prepare a change-of-address card and signing it as an individual mover. If they expect to return home for the following summer, make it a temporary change of address (which expires after one year) that can be canceled when they return. Be sure to note any special addressing requirements at the school, especially if it has a central mail room. Don’t forget the complete ZIP Code and any applicable building or room numbers.
— Periodically send a package of local newspapers so they can keep up with news from home.
— Order subscriptions to their favorite magazines to read on those rainy afternoons. They’ll think of you when they do.
— Surprise them once in a while with a special care package of their favorite non-perishable goodies like cookies, candy, crackers or chips.