Your teen is away at college. You miss them and hope that they’re okay. Are they experiencing homesickness and not telling you about it? Sending your college kid a care package might be the perfect vehicle to tell them that even while they’re away you’re still thinking of them.
The Essentials College Care Package
College Care Package for Treating Illness
College has always been a petri dish of disease, with bugs going around almost constantly. Even if your teen isn’t feeling under the weather yet, sending them sick goodies is a good idea.
👉Cough drops, cold and flu medicine, hand sanitizer, and soft tissues (both in boxes and in travel packs – hey, they’re convenient!) are good starters.
👉An extra pack or two of disposable facial masks are always a good idea.
👉A thermometer so they can have proof if their professor asks why they can’t make it to class.
👉A humidifier if they’re prone to allergies, asthma, or nosebleeds.
👉A few COVID tests wouldn’t hurt either.
Dorm First Aid Kit for Injuries
If your teen is an athlete, if they’re just injury prone, or if they’re wiped out from walking so much for class, they’ll appreciate something to keep their bodies in working order.
👉Start off with a simple first aid kid – bandaids, alcohol swabs, etc.
👉If they don’t have access to a freezer, there are single-use ice packs on the market.
👉Heat packs (microwavable or electronic) are useful for anyone, especially if their dorms turn on the heating super late.
👉Other ideas include topical pain relief creams if they’re working with sore muscles
Dorm Cleaning Supplies
This is your teen’s first time living away from home, and there’s a nonzero chance they don’t know how to take care of themselves. Whether it’s forgetting to bring dish soap, running out of Clorox wipes, or needing a shower mat for their bathroom, they absolutely forgot something – and, likely, are delaying the trip off campus to restock. They might already have a list for you if you ask.
👉If your teen has reusable straws, get them a drinking straw cleaning brush to clean them with.
👉If they have access to a kitchen, get them some dish towels and a good sponge.
👉Remember, they likely don’t have a dishwasher, so they’re responsible for manually washing their own dishes. For that they’ll need dish soap.
Self-Care for College Students
It’s really easy for college students to forget to take care of themselves before and during exams: giving them self-care stuff can help remind your teen to pause and relax.
👉Think maintenance, like face masks or exfoliant.
👉See your teen’s favorite color in the nail polish section at the pharmacy? Get them a bottle. Don’t forget nail polish remover, nail files.
👉Look around their campus for local massage places, spas, hair salons/barber shops, eyebrow threading (etc.), and get them a coupon.
The College Care Package that Says Love
Snacks for College Students
Nothing fuels college students more during a study session than some delicious snacks.
👉Check food delivery services in their area like Instacart – as well as Amazon, who has a snack ordering section.
👉Even consider getting your kid a snack box subscription for interesting varieties every month!
Treat Packages from Dining Halls
There’s a chance that the dining halls on their campus have care packages you can order for your teen, packed with snacks and goodies. Check the school’s website!
Groceries for College Students
When you don’t have a car, running even the simplest of errands can take up a whole chunk of your teen’s day – time that, if they’re in the middle of an intense semester, they might not be budgeting out. If they have access to their own kitchen space, getting groceries delivered will save them time, help introduce some variety into their meals, and help supplement their campus meal plan. Plus, if your teen is confident enough to try, they might be able to cook a meal for their friends! (Or you, when they’re home.)
Meals for College Students
Are there restaurants around campus that your teen likes, or that you think they would like? Treat them to takeout, or surprise them with delivery when they’re holed up in their dorm. Works especially well during inclement weather – no one wants to walk to a dining hall when it’s snowing. Just warn them first so they’re there to pick the food up!
Cash: The Most Popular Gift
It’s a tried and true mantra – if you don’t know what to give, give cash. This rings extra for college kids, who are experiencing the freedom (and weight) of shopping for themselves for the first time. Whether you mail them physical cash, or load it onto their credit card, your teen will appreciate the extra budget: from treating themselves to a coffee before class, to never running out of quarters for the laundry, to even getting some cute school merch.
Study Supplies for a Care Package
Midterms and final exams come faster than you expect, and giving your teen some new study supplies might just serve as a good reminder to start hitting the books.
👉Think new stationery, or pushpins for them to hang flashcards (if allowed in their dorm)
👉Get them a little good luck charm for their desk to keep them company while they study.
New Clothes for College Care Package
👉Did your teen get surprised by the first frost of the year? Send them gloves, a scarf, and a warm hat to hold them over. Even snow boots, if necessary.
👉Realize they forgot a favorite hoodie or pair of jeans at home? After checking with them (maybe they left it on purpose), send it to them!
👉How often is your teen doing laundry? They might run out of some things faster than others – socks, underwear….
👉Students are going to wear out their shoes fast, especially if they have a large campus, and many might underestimate how often they’re going to be wearing sneakers. Check in with your teen, and consider getting them a new pair. Even if they’re normally a couch potato, they’re going to be hitting their step goals more often than not.
College Care Packages for Holidays or Birthdays
Birthday Care Package
Does your teen’s birthday land during the semester?
👉Send them a birthday present!
👉Consider also sending decorations for them to use for a dorm birthday party – a lot of party decorations can double as regular dorm decor, anyways.
Holiday Care Package
Your teen won’t be able to make it home for every holiday, so why not bring the holidays to them?
👉Candy, presents, decorations, games for them to play with their roommates
👉Even old family recipes that they can start cooking for their friends – it’s the perfect occasion to send the perfect care package.
Congratulations Care Package
Is your teen having a hard semester? Did they pass an exam they were super nervous about? Did they completely blow a project out of the water? Regardless of the victory, no matter how small, your teen deserves to celebrate it, and it helps remind them that you’re rooting for them, no matter how far away you are.