Family Day is generally held in October, to encourage students around the midpoint of the Fall semester. For many families, it’s not practical to return to campus 6-8 weeks after the start of school for a variety of reasons such as distance/time change, travel expenses, work schedules, and other children’s schedules.
However, even from a distance, you can encourage your student! Here are a few tips and ideas to help you convey your message.
1 – Facetime/Skype – “I miss my parents a lot, but I also want to be here at UNLV. I feel better knowing my Mom is just a Facetime call away!” said Giana, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs. Schedule a call for Family Day, so that you can experience the event together.
2 – Mail a card or handwritten note – It’s “old school,” yet your students still love getting mail. Add a few stickers or a drawing that you created, just for fun. Students enjoy those little touches, even if they roll their eyes!
3 – Send something special to arrive Friday, October 4 — a care package from home brings smiles to students and their roommates, too. Think of a theme, such as Movie Night and fill a box with fun items like popcorn, cozy socks, a small throw pillow, and perhaps a gift card to download the movie!
If you don’t want to create the care package yourself, there are many companies that sell online. Search in your internet browser for “college student care package” to view hundreds of options. UNLV’s National Residence Hall Honorary also has a care package site for most major holidays: https://www.swaku.com/unlv-home
4 – Ask a Family – perhaps a roommate or classmate’s family is attending Family Day, and they could invite your student to join them. It can be a fun bonding opportunity for students to introduce new friends to their family. Or, if there is a local relative or a high school pal who is just a car ride away, perhaps they can stand in for you for the day! We have lots of grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, and family friends who will attend the events!
5 – Make a Video or Photo Collage – Ask your student to take a video or photos of the event and send them to you. When your student gets home, they can narrate the highlights for you, using the video/photos as a guide.
Phone calls are great for check-ins, problem solving, and for your student to have someone to listen. Let your student know how proud you are of them, and don’t feel as though you need to solve everything. Give them a chance to work out issues, and encourage them to do so.
If extra help is needed, suggest campus resources like Resident Assistants (student staff who live on every floor), Resident Coordinators (professional staff who live in each Residence Hall Complex), or the Student Health and Wellness Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Phone numbers are posted in every building for students to call for assistance. Keep in mind that sometimes they forget to tell you when everything has worked out.
If your student doesn’t seem interested in Family Day activities, that’s OK, too! Ask them what they would like to do to relieve stress, or perhaps they need time on their own to study or to work a shift at their job!
For Parents/Family of Commuter Students
… my student sees me everyday! Why should we go to brunch on campus?
Students tell us how much family support contributes to their feelings of self-efficacy, which is a fancy term for believing in their ability to succeed. Local students have expressed that once their family enjoys a meal together on campus, they feel much more comfortable in the college environment. Plus, they like to show you around “their campus!”
Each student is unique and the overall goal is to provide support and encouragement for their academic success.