Why Advice for Parents of Kindergarteners Also Helps Parents of New College Students

A meditating frog

Parents of college students experience the bittersweet rewards of a job well-done, their “babies” are capable of caring for themselves, but doing so without seemingly “needing” a parent. So, a Kindergarten’s teacher’s advice can be helpful: 

….they [one’s kid] will probably have a hard time separating from you. It’s normal, and it may last a few days, but it gets better and easier. Just say your goodbyes and let the teacher or staff handle it. The longer you linger, the harder it is on both of you.  

Furthermore, parents of Kindergartners and new college students often worry if their children will make new friends and find support in their new school. Living in the residence halls, many students are possibly sharing a room for the first time, as well as a community bathroom, needing to cooperate with others.  Again, a Kindergarten teacher offers a few words of wisdom

I always tell my students sharing does not mean, “Give it to me now because I want it!” Sharing means, “May I have that when you’re done using it?” That’s an important thing to explain to your children.  

Moreover, college students can be unsure about walking their own path, many for the first time, having accumulated the same classes as their peers, competing effectively (some fiercely) in the modern academic meritocracy to now be enrolled in college. 

Thus, relinquishing such a rooted habit isn’t simple. Again, a Kindergarten teacher’s advice can be useful:

Explain you [the student] won’t always be the first one in line and that’s OK. I always tell my students we are all going to the same place to do the same thing, so it doesn’t matter where you are in line. 

The Kindergarten teacher further offers advice parents can pass to their college teen, who will soon be seeking a place to belong, invited to socialize in youthfully frenzied, raucous parties:

Teach them about personal space and to tell others if they are getting in your space…

Moreover, setting boundaries, like expliciting discussing how to live together with new roommates, is an exercise in maturity.

Lastly, in immediate weeks following a college teen’s departure from home, a Kindergarten teacher’s experienced advice can once again ring true, as much for the four year olds in her charge, as the 18 year olds newly establishing a new “home”: 

[The hardest part is] the separation [of kids] from their parents and guardians. Some kids take a few weeks to adjust to their new routine. It’s normal.

Eventually, they will rush from their parents to run into class without even looking back to say goodbye. That’s a hard one for parents. 

I know I will have crying students and crying parents…And it’s OK, that’s why I’m [the teacher] there. 

So, in her parting advice, a Kindergarten teacher reminds new college students to rely on the college staff and administrators present and experienced to help them transition to their first home away from their families.


Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students (re)discover their aptitude, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college education process. For more information, please contact us

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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