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5 Things to Pack Your Child for Their First Winter Away at School



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Having your child away at school for his or her first winter is an enormous period of transition for you and your child. He or she may feel lonely or completely thrilled about the experience of independence. Either way, your child will likely appreciate the thought and attention that you put into a meaningful care package. You can send all these items at once, or you can sprinkle the items in various packages that you send throughout the season. Try some of these items to surprise your child and to remind him or her how much you care.

Non-Perishable Food Items

College kids are notorious for poor eating habits that usually revolve around their low budget, such as eating Ramen noodles every night for dinner. Surprise your child with some of his or her favorite non-perishable items that won’t spoil on their way to school. Beef jerky, protein bars, candy, soup, stew, granola bars, chips, cereal, cookies, boxes of microwaveable popcorn, easy-to-bake brownie mix, pretzels, cocoa, and oatmeal are a few ideas. You can also send instant drink mix or bottled water along with the package.

School Supplies

Right around the end of the semester, your child may be running out of school supplies and may not have the funds available to restock. Writing utensils are always needed, including pens and pencils. Notebook paper, folders, binders, and printer ink and paper are a few other good options.

You may also want to send a few items that he or she can use to study for finals. Highlighters and flashcards may be helpful. Adhesive notes and other stationery items like writing paper, envelopes, and stamps are helpful for resumes or for letters home. You can also purchase him or her a gift card to the university supply store or a local office store. Study aids and books that summarize information from class may also be a welcome gift.

Personal Care Items

After a semester away at school, some bubble bath may feel like a luxury. Get your daughter the items that she may not have the funds to splurge on but that would make her more comfortable while not at home. For example, you can get her a set of skin lotion, bath salts, and bubble baths. Loofas, shampoo, conditioner, and shower slippers.

Your son may enjoy having new packages of razors, deodorant, soap, and shaving cream. Contact solution, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a first aid kit are other items to consider adding to the package. If permitted, you could send some over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, allergy medicine, cold medicine, vitamins, and pain relief medication. You can also send items to help freshen the dormitory or apartment, including cleaning products, sheets, towels, dishcloths, washcloths, rugs, curtains, shower curtains, and organizational bins.

Electronic Items

Many kids from the younger generations enjoy their electronic gadgets. Sending a new toy can come as a welcome surprise. You can also send them items that can be used in conjunction with their existing supplies. Computer items include blank discs and flash drives.

A webcam may be a welcome surprise that can help your kid enjoy contact with people back home. You can also send a gift card that she can use at an electronics store or online. A subscription service for movie rentals, video game rentals, or for additional ringtones or music for their phone may be another option. You can also send calling cards if your child has a home phone or a month of cell phone service if she uses a no-contract phone.

Personal Mementos

The items that your child will likely enjoy the most are those that remind her of home. Send a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or another memento from your child’s childhood. A handwritten note of congratulations and warm wishes is another option. You can also send photographs of you and her siblings. If you make a concerted effort, you may be able to gather a book or card full of signatures and warm wishes from her friends and extended family members as well. Another option is to send a loaded digital picture frame of some of her favorite pictures of you, her, friends, and your family.