If your child is starting college and will be away from home, this is likely an exciting time for them. Under that excitement, however, your child may be feeling anxious and scared, especially if they are shy. They may not be very forthcoming, so make sure you take time to sit down and talk with them about what they are feeling. Below are some tips so you can help your child make their first year of college a good experience.
It is important for your child to form relationships with other students as soon as they can. These friends can help give them more support than you likely could. During the orientation, find information about clubs that are available. You may see students that have set up booths to let people sign up for a club during the orientation. Ask your child to visit these booths to get information about the club on their own, even if they are feeling too shy to do it. Joining a club helps your child connect to people with the same interests, and they can develop some very good relationships.
Clubs that are more task oriented may work better than social clubs. For example, instead of joining a theater, your child may join a club that helps backstage. Joining the school newspaper or yearbook is a behind the scenes club.
Look for Other Shy Kids
When your child is visiting events, attending parties, etc., ask them to look for the children that are standing on the sidelines, as these children may be shy also. Your child should approach these people, and start a simple conversation with them to see if they are the type of person they want to be friends with. In many cases, they will end up making some great friends this way.
Form Online Relationships
Your child should try to connect with people going to the same college through social media. It is much easier to form a relationship in this way that they can then foster when they get to school. Check with the college and ask if they have a social media site set up. Getting in touch with people that are getting the major is helpful, as they will have the same interests. Your child may start feeling excited knowing they are going to meet their online friends when they get to college.
If your child is feeling anxious after they have had time to get adjusted, it may be time to step in to get them some help. Some symptoms of anxiety include a sense of panic and uneasiness, shortness of breath, problems with sleeping, inability to stay calm, dry mouth, and heart palpitations. Start out with the school counselor, who will be experienced with helping college students.
If anxiety becomes a larger problem, your child likely needs anxiety treatment outside of college. Get them in touch with a professional counselor who can not only counsel your child, but can also prescribe anxiety medications to them if the problem is serious