Care packages give us a little connection to our kids far from home.

“To have children is to have your heart walking around outside your body.”  Whoever said this clearly understood my feelings when we hauled our youngest off to her dorm and waved goodbye.

Saying goodbye

The transition was unexpectedly gut wrenching for me.  Since we live in the same town where my daughter attends college, I thought the separation would be a breeze.  But my husband and I believe in the value of the dorm experience to teach oh so many lessons that can’t be learned in a classroom, so we vowed to drop her off and give her space.

Whether your collegiate is near or far in proximity, they’ll appreciate some goodies from home in the form of a care package, and sending a little something might help you miss them a little less.  Daunted by the task?  Here are some pointers to make it effortless:

Decide on a schedule

I chose to send a monthly care package to each of my kids, but you could do this by season, or even by special holidays or events, like finals or homecoming.  Setting up a schedule helps you reduce cost by hunting for items in advance and squirrelling them away.

Collect sample sizes of favorites

Those 1 oz. catsup bottles that come free with your restaurant breakfast?  Hide them in your purse, ladies.  Even individual sizes of things like honey; syrup and hot sauce can be snagged for free and will be much appreciated by your student for dorm-room cuisine.  Toiletry items like hotel sewing kits, q-tips and shower caps make nice additions as well.

Remember the sure thing

All, and I mean all, college kids like gift cards, even in denominations of $5.  That small piece of plastic could mean just the pick-me-up cup of coffee or bag of fries they need to get through a tough day.

Something for sharing

My daughter’s first request after move-in was the largest size bag of Kit Kats available.  Apparently, these are a kind of currency in her world-who knew?  Whether you include a homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies or a store-bought bag of popcorn, remember to include a food item for your collegiate to share with newfound friends.

Theme it up

A casual search on this topic will deliver endless theme ideas for care packages, from major holidays to color-related themes.  This idea can also be a money saver.  If you plan ahead, you can keep an eye out and collect items when they go on sale.

After all these years, I still have fond memories of the lady in our church who sent care packages to every college freshman. I remember loving the feeling that someone from home took the time to fill my mailbox.

Even in this digital age of easy text and phone access, we can ease the transition for ourselves and our student by sending something tangible that reminds them how much we care.

Have more great care package ideas or items your student has especially loved?  Share with us!