A parent's guide to homesickness

Homesickness is very common, although your student may think he or she is the only one feeling that way.

Encourage your son or daughter to call and talk to you about these feelings. Some parents feel students shouldn't call home if they are homesick because this will just intensify the feelings. In fact, most experts say the opposite is true. It's OK for your student to call you, and you may even think about checking in by calling or texting more frequently as well.

Having your student talk with you and others about what he or she is feeling is one of the most important steps to working through homesickness.

Send your student a care package with snacks, magazines, pictures of your family and family pets, and news from your hometown.

Send a regular update of what's happening at home along with encouraging words about how you know they'll adjust at college.

All these things can help to reassure your student that they aren't forgotten and are still a part of things at home. The important thing to remember is that homesickness is usually temporary.

The most helpful thing you can do at this point is to listen and validate those feelings as perfectly normal. Who wouldn't feel homesick and out of sorts after leaving everything familiar, moving in with strangers, and starting a new way of life.

Even others on your student's floor who seem to be doing great have moments of homesickness. You don't have to (and really can't) solve this problem. (Yes, that's what parents are supposed to do!) You just have to support your student and let him or her know:

  • You understand
  • You miss him or her also
  • You know it's hard
  • There are resources on campus to help
  • He or she can talk to roommates, resident assistants, or others on the floor about being homesick
  • He or she should call the university's counseling center and set up an appointment to talk

Additional resources

  • Parents of University of Iowa students may want to visit the UI Parent and Family Resources website.
  • The caregivers at UI Student Health and Wellness remind parents to encourage their students to contact University Counseling Service for issues like homesickness and other concerns their students express.
University of Iowa students can schedule an appointment with a provider at Student Health and Wellness online through their MyChart account or by calling 1-319-335-8394.
Last reviewed: 
August 2017

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