Tag Archives: Teen

20 Questions to Ask Your College Tour Guide

Get the most out of your next college tour with these 20 questions to ask your college tour guide. Great advice! | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

College tours are essential for deciding where your kid’s home away from home is going to be for the next four (or more) years. It’s a big deal! In fact the gravity of the situation may have you obsessively making lists of questions to pepper the tour guide with once you get them in your sights.

But . . .

Remember college is all about your child stepping out on their own. If you take over the tour group time, you’re essentially creating a filter between your kid and their experience of the campus. A wise compromise is to discuss using the tour group time effectively BEFORE you slap on that name tag. This list of questions will help. In fact, why not just forward the entire article to your child now?

3 General Tips

1. Only tour when students are present. It makes all the difference in the world. Without the students, you’re just looking at a bunch of buildings. We already made this mistake, learn from it. The first school we toured was on winter break, and my daughter got a very negative impression of it: cold, too expansive, and boring. We went back later and she discovered a whole new perspective when the student union was hopping and the quad was filled with students. Luckily this campus was only a couple of hours from our house, but who has time to tour all the colleges on their list twice?

2. Understand what questions NOT to ask the tour guide. If it’s a question that can be answered from the website, skip it. Enough with obsessing over the average SAT scores already. Also, realize what is beyond their scope. Your guide will generally be a student—a well-trained student—but still, they have no admissions authority. On every. single. tour. someone asked about financial aid. Just no. That’s what an appointment with a financial aid counselor is for.

3. If you have to choose between a tour and sitting in on a class, take the tour. While it may be exciting for your student to get a taste of college, they’re getting a very narrow experience just sitting in on one class. We got much more decision-making information from thoughtfully using a tour. By our third visit, even if we had time for our daughter to sample a class, she was passing on that option. Sitting in on a class was more helpful on accepted student days.

Questions to Ask

First consider your tour guide to be your window into what it’s really like to attend that school! Just remember, this is their job, a job they picked because they love their school, but still a job. They’re trained on how to deflect negative questions. I’m definitely NOT saying they are disingenuous, but let’s just acknowledge that questions like “how’s the party scene?” have certain scripted answers.

To get information not found anywhere else, it helps to get your guides talking about themselves—everyone’s favorite subject.

With that in mind, a good place for your student to start is  . . .

1. Why did you choose this school? Ask this of as many people as you can to get as clear a picture as you can. It’s better than the anonymous info on College Niche.

2. What is this school known for? If you keep hearing “sports,” you need to decide if that’s an important thing to you or not. When the social scene revolves around going to games, you may be lonely if you don’t join in.

3. What do you think the “big” majors are at this school? If all you hear is “engineering” and you’re a dance major, you may want to assess how much funding goes to the arts.

4. Have you switched your major? How hard is it to switch your major? MANY students switch their majors. One school dropped off of my daughter’s list when she discovered she had to pick between applying to the School of Communication and the School of Journalism. If she wanted to switch between the two after she started attending, it was a whole new application process, not just a transfer form.

5. What year are you? How easy was it for you to get the classes you wanted? How about when you were a freshman? Most students readily spill about the pain and annoyance of being shut out of classes. This is very telling.

6. How were you assigned your adviser and do you use them? Be very concerned about finishing in four years at a school where people claim not to use advising. It of course can be done, but it takes a high level of diligence.

7. How did you communicate with your adviser before you signed up for classes as a freshman and how helpful were they? We did not ask this once and it should have been one of the deciding factors for picking a school. We lucked out that the advisement program at my daughter’s university is superb. Her adviser spent a couple of hours with her on the phone over multiple calls helping her map out her classes for freshman year and beyond. Be aware that the quality of advisement can vary by major even at the same school.

8. What year do people start to get internships? Be a little worried if the answer is senior year because from internships come jobs.

9. Is studying abroad a big deal here? What year do people do it? Also be aware that some schools encourage it during winter breaks and summers meaning extra cost on top of tuition. Some schools have programs where a semester abroad is covered by tuition plus travel costs.

10. What are the best dorms? Did you get that one as a freshman? Good to get the inside scoop.

11. How did you get your roommate? At my daughter’s school there was an official questionnaire and matching service, but my daughter found hers on the unofficial Facebook page. Also good to note, especially if it is a local college, do people seem to room with friends from high school?

12. Are there “quiet” dorm or floor options? Another question we did not think to ask. This is good for the introvert and the extrovert. The quiet person can get what she wants and the socialite can avoid being shushed (or worse) all of the time.

13. Do you still live on campus? When do students generally move off-campus? Another question we should have asked. I thought my girl would have at least three years in the dorms, but alas, many of the students at her school move off-campus after freshman year (the only year they are required to live in the dorms).

14. Have you been here during a campus lockdown? Are alerts sent out often? These questions delve deeper than “is the campus safe?”

15. Does the campus clear out on the weekends? If you are hundreds of miles away from home, you don’t want to end up at what is essentially a commuter school.

16.Describe your typical Saturday here to me. Gets at the above question from a different angle.

17. What are you involved with on campus? This is a more open-ended way to see what clubs, endeavors, and activism your tour guide is involved with.

18. What kinds of off-campus things do you do? This can be very telling about the surrounding art culture, jobs, and club scene . . . or it can drive home that you are looking at a school in the middle of a cow pasture.

19. What do the locals say about this school? Also very telling.

20. How necessary is it to have a car? If freshman are not allowed cars, how do people work around that? This will clue you into how prevalent the use of Uber is or whether there is a sweet garage where students keep their cars off-campus.

Okay, now breathe. These questions only serve as a guideline for information you may not have thought to gather, not as permission to monopolize the group. Let others talk. You may just learn something neither you nor I realized we needed to know. And by all means, if you think of a good question, please add it in the comments. I have college tours looming on my horizon AGAIN.

I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice: if your child is very interested in a school and has narrowed their major down, please consider calling that department to arrange for a specialized tour. They may even offer for you to meet with a dean or an adviser before you even have to ask. We found this VERY helpful if we were visiting from far away and “popping over” for another look was not possible.

Oooo, one last LAST piece of advice. Talk finances with your child before you tour. If you can’t swing a school without significant aid/scholarship, let them know that caveat before they fall in love. It’s an easier conversation before they have stars in their eyes.

Happy touring and take plenty of pictures! This may be the start of your child’s new path!

-Ellen 

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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What Surprised Me When My College Kid Came Home for Thanksgiving

What Surprised Me When My College Kid Came Home for Thanksgiving | I was not prepared for how I felt when my college kid came home for Thanksgiving. Her visit illuminated with LED intensity all that had been missing. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

My college freshman daughter came home for Thanksgiving and it. was. glorious. Some friends who still have all of their chicks under one roof commented that Thanksgiving break came up pretty quickly considering it was only three months since I said good-bye. Only. I just again read my piece about sending her off in August—contemplating whether or not my “sweet spot of motherhood” was behind me—and it feels like it has been three lifetimes.

My “sweet spot” did indeed expand as I had hoped to encompass long distance parenting from Maryland to Miami. My daughter has communicated with us with a regularity beyond my wildest hopes via texting, Face Timing, calling, and Snapchatting. She is generous about sharing her new life, and has continued to seek my advice. I haven’t been kicked to the proverbial curb. For my part, I have become the master of high quality care packages.

Halloween Care Package | Use a cheap seasonal blanket from Walmart to line the box. | College | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

She is still in my life, it’s just in a different way. In a way that is the epitome of life moving forward. In fact, life continued to march forward for all of us. As soon as we dropped her off, field hockey was in full swing for my sophomore daughter. And then I shoveled out her room. And then we got a dog. There really was no time for weeping or hand-wringing . . . or at least I didn’t leave myself time for that.

In general, I’ve handled marching forward pretty well. That’s why I was taken aback by the wave of emotion that hit me during the week she was home for Thanksgiving.

I missed her most while she was here!

I mean I have missed her since the moment she left, but I had gotten use to her not being around. And by “used to” I mean I just didn’t think about it that much. I really just couldn’t. Besides, she is happily hitting her stride, and we had a lovely visit over Family Weekend. How could I complain about a natural order that was going this well?

But, I have felt a bit off-centered and blah. Not exactly mopey, just unsettled. Beating her room into order and adopting myself some unconditional canine love helped, but I hadn’t really worked through it all. There’s not a lot of space to discuss ambiguous feelings. People can maybe handle hearing that you are sad, but they really just want you to say “I’m fine.” My kid was busy being everything I hoped she would be, so what right did I have to be sad anyway? And really, when people ask you how things are going with college, they want to hear about your kid and then get back to picking through the pumpkins at the farm stand.

What Surprised Me When My College Kid Came Home for Thanksgiving | I was not prepared for how I felt when my college kid came home for Thanksgiving. Her visit illuminated with LED intensity all that had been missing. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

While I had adjusted to her being gone like a swell little soldier—my life is pretty good after all—her being here for a week illuminated with LED intensity all that had been missing. It took the return of her vim and vigor for me to realize the full impact of its absence.

I felt unmoored because I missed the dynamic of her just being in our space: her wit, her clutter, her willingness to pitch in, as well as her exasperating insistence that we embark on a ten minute hunt for another tube of toothpaste because brushing her teeth in the shower “saved” time and her sister was currently using the only other tube. While I love her snip-its of news and Snapchats, I missed what her presence brings to our family unit under this roof: completeness. Her whole senior year through college move-in day was such a seismic shift, but when the earthquake was over, I just plowed ahead instead of assessing the aftermath.

When spellcheck bleated just now that “unmoored” was not a word, I looked it up to find descriptive perfection: to bring to the state of riding with a single anchor after being moored by two or more. Eureka! This is it! After spending sixteen years with the tug and grounding of two kids with their schedules, activities and needs, I was suddenly lighter with only one at home. But instead of feeling free, I only had the uncomfortable sensation of buffeting in the breeze. In related news I may be prone to mini-panics that my youngest will be going to college in three short years.

More than once during the week I had to snap myself back into the moment instead of anticipating the empty space yawning wide again once she left. It really wasn’t hard because we had such a great time, but you know what? It hasn’t been that bad she she went back. I feel better now that my brain realizes the void my heart was flapping around. I still miss her, but I feel more grounded knowing that our family “completeness” isn’t gone; it’s just something I have to look forward to now when she returns. And boy, do I have a detailed answer for the next person who asks me how I am doing.

-Ellen 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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One Tip for Parenting Through the Teen Years

Man, it has been a rough teen week in the Dymowski household. My daughter is finishing up all of her college applications, my fifteen year old is learning to drive, and the thirteen year old who hates to read has a book report. We are, in short, a hot mess of emotions. As is our way, we are splashing this everywhere, a fair warning to anyone considering a visit or even a casual conversation. The conditions are, however, optimal for a little introspection and reevaluation. So it’s the perfect time to remember a tip for parenting through the teen years, one born many moons ago before Steve and I were even parents.

Teens being difficult? A tip for parenting through the teen years that will make you a calmer and happier mom | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Back then, we were just two kids on our honeymoon in Ireland. The wildly changing temperatures meant that even in August, we might freeze like popsicles on a moor or dissolve in puddles of sweat walking through a quaint town. We casually mentioned this to our host at one of the bed and breakfasts. His reply? “That’s Ireland. Our country’s motto should be: don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” Such straightforward, unadorned, and simple advice was exactly what we needed to adjust our expectations. Knowing that whatever foul weather befell us would swiftly give way to sunnier times made it easier to wade though the uncomfortable and unpleasant moments. Armed with newfound hope and perspective, we enjoyed the rest of our trip a little more.

Shortly after we returned home, we moved to the lovely coast of Maine. Ireland and Maine have much to recommend them in terms of raw, natural beauty and friendly natives. In terms of weather, not so much. To be frank, weathermen in both places have the easiest job ever. Pick a weather condition, throw it out there, and for at least part of the day, they are probably right. In any case, we felt that our friendly Irishman’s insight worked here too. “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute” became a salve on a raw, frigid day, a buffer that took the edge off a wet and miserable one. Better times were a-coming. We could soldier on.

Fast forward thirteen years (we had a honeymoon baby), and we were facing down a storm unlike any we had ever seen before. Our newly minted teen son was shaking our house with the full force and raw power of his adolescent fury. Gale force winds wish they had the power to rattle the windows like he did that day. Completely at a loss for what to do, Steve said under his breath, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”

“This too shall pass” on steroids, these words defused the situation. We both exhaled. Things were ugly now, but they wouldn’t always be.  We could stay calm and cool. We could deflect his words and anger with a soothing presence. We could use the minute we were taking to practice empathy for our son. And we were lucky. This storm, like most teen tempests, blew hard but fast. Dawn brought cooler heads, better talks, and with them some much needed perspective.

Planet Teen can be a rough and inhospitable place.  Harsh things are said, emotions run high, and terrible storms blow up. But here’s the thing, they also blow over.  The key to staying high and dry when you are in the thick of it is to remember that most of the teen landscape, while a little rocky, is also full of wonderful things to see and do.

But if you have had a week with your teens like I have, let’s all just give ourselves a minute. Not all days are going to make the Facebook feed, but we are still living them. This bad weather we may be experiencing, while tough, isn’t the overall climate of our home.  Better times are a-coming, and we are going to soldier on.

Teens being difficult? A tip for parenting through the teen years that will make you a calmer and happier mom | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

-Erin

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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Teach Your Teen to Drive With These First Steps

Chances are if you have a teen ready to drive, you’ve been motoring around for a decade or three yourself. It’s hard to recall a time when jumping behind the wheel was fresh and new, but this is exactly the mindset you need when teaching your child to drive. Yes, YOU teach your darling to drive. Maybe senility is knocking at my door, but I really feel like “back in the day” the drivers education instructor did most of the well, instructing. Where I live in Maryland, my kid needs to be in the car with me for 20 hours before they get behind-the-wheel training with an instructor.

Here’s a direct quote from the pamphlet:

The behind the wheel lessons are intended to guide your teen by evaluating their current driving skills, determining where they need more practice, and preparing them for the MVA exam. The parent/adult driver(s) that work with the student for the 60+ practice hours are teaching the teen how to drive.

You could have knocked me over with a feather once I realized this with my oldest daughter. I was already finding this phase of parenting to be the most challenging (realizing 14 years too late that potty training was NOTHING), but finding out I couldn’t really turn this over to a professional was pretty disheartening. Like a bag of chocolate chips followed by a red wine chaser disheartening.

Hey, I’m an experienced driver with a clean record, and the DMV gave me a trifold pamphlet, so it was all good, right? It wasn’t quite as mind-blowing as being handed my firstborn at the hospital with the proclamation “Go forth and be a parent!” but it wasn’t great either. At least now I had the internet. Okay, I had the internet when she was born, but Google didn’t launch until two months later. Let that sink in.

But while handy dandy Google had answers for me this time, they were all over the place. All I wanted to know was where to begin. Luckily I was able to formulate a plan by piecing together what I read and adding it to the advice offered by our Facebook followers.

Teach your teen to drive with these first steps. Tips and tutorials because the basics may be even more basic than you recall. Learn also about the role of muscle memory. |Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

My biggest revelation with my oldest daughter was that the first lessons happened way before the open road. My biggest discovery with my second daughter was that The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) launched teendriversource.org; a site chock full of research-based guidelines, tools, and tutorials for parents, teens, and educators. The only “problem” is there is so much information, it’s hard to initially land at the starting point.

Follow these tips and tutorials to teach your teen to drive. The basics may be even more basic than you recall. Learn also about the role of muscle memory. |Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Here’s how to get rolling:

First Steps for Teaching Your Teen to Drive

  1. Start with getting YOUR mind in the right place. It is your job to remove distractions and one of them is YOU. Yep. Teens report that one of the biggest distractions is when parents get emotional. So get ready for an Oscar nomination because you must maintain an air of calm through it all: keep your voice modulated, try not to stomp a hole through the floorboard, and always have them pull the carover to discuss dicey situations. This two minute video can give you further tips on creating the right learning environment.
  2. Go over the car thoroughly. Remember this is all new. Consider every button mysterious and explain it. Describe how to adjust the mirrors and the seats. Explain how you turn on the car and work the pedals. Need some help remembering what all of the basic steps are? Check out these short videos where it is all laid out. Have your teen put the car in gear and go down your driveway a bit (or do this in a parking lot) so your teen can use the pedals and see if the mirrors are positioned correctly. Believe it or not, this may be enough for the first lesson.
  3. Practice in a parking lot . . . a big, empty one. Go over the car again. Then just have them get a feel for the vehicle in motion. Play around with the accelerator and brake. Have them discover what reverse feels like. Just let them drive around developing a feel for the “corners” of the vehicle. You can even set up some cones or boxes for them to maneuver around. You can review tutorials for your parking lot sessions here.
  4. Discuss scanning techniques. SO IMPORTANT, BUT SO OFTEN OVERLOOKED. You avoid accidents by anticipating hazards you detect while scanning your surroundings. Good drivers routinely sweep their gaze beyond the lane in front of them and constantly check their mirrors. Guess what? New drivers tend to stare straight ahead. Teens must be told how to move their eyes and they need to be reminded every time they get behind the wheel. Scanning from lesson one helps cement it into a habit as soon as possible. For help describing the technique, watch Parking Lot: Introduction to Scanning.
  5. Practice checking for blind spots. Novices need to learn early on that checking mirrors is not enough, they need to physically turn their heads to check blind spots. It’s best to start this early because it may take a while before they can turn their head without turning the wheel. Teaching how to look around before backing up fits in nicely here too.
  6. Comment while YOU drive. Talk about how you’re scanning the road. Comment on the mechanics of making a turn while you’re doing it (so much easier than trying to remember and reconstruct how you do that automatic action while you’re sitting in the passenger seat). Explain why you picked that particular parking space. However, to avoid eye rolls think of this as dispensing public service announcements, not creating documentaries. Narrate little tidbits, not full instruction manuals.

Don’t be anxious to blow through these steps to get out on the road because that’s where you think the real lessons occur. It is so hard for novice drivers because they have to think about every single little action with their higher brains. That processing adds crucial seconds to reaction times.

Driving is so automatic for you because you are doing it from “muscle memory” controlled by your lower brain, and more specifically, your cerebellum. Every time your child drives, they are strengthening neural connections in their cerebellum and thus heading toward better and faster reactions. “Practice makes perfect” was coined for this part of the brain. Because I know these neural pathways are being forged, I don’t rush my kids out onto the interstate. Every time they practice braking on a local road means they will be better at braking on the highway. It’s a matter of brain training.

So there you have it: not everything (by a long shot), but at least your starting point. Don’t worry though, teensource.org will take you to the next level, too. Stay calm, buckle up, have a plan, and know you’re not the only one who is not a fan of this part of parenting!

-Ellen

Want to know more about how to protect your teen driver? See what we wrote about it here.

How To Protect Your Teen Driver - #JustDrive - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Our kids also made a video with us about distracted driving. Watch it for the valuable information, enjoy it because they are adorable.

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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Ask This One Question to Make Family Weekend a Success

Fall is in the air! In the past that just meant trips to the corn maze, hot apple cider, and pumpkin spice everything. And while it’s still all about these niceties, if you’re the parents of a college freshman, it now means you get to see your baby during Family Weekend!

Family Weekend is the lifeline many of us hang onto after we drop our kids off at the dorms, especially if they are our oldest, and ESPECIALLY if they are far away. “Just two weeks, seven days, and fifteen hours until I get to see/hug/smooch my girl!” I would market the heck out of a countdown clock if I didn’t think the added hype would break some poor momma’s heart even more.

What am I talking about? Hear that faint noise whistling below the rustle of leaves and the honking of geese? Like air leaking out of a balloon? Well, if you’re within earshot of said parents of a brand spanking new freshman, that’s the sound of high expectations for Family Weekend deflating. Or maybe it’s coming from you as you stand in the middle of that pricey campus with nothing to do and no idea where your offspring even is.

See, not all Family Weekends are created equal. Some are extensively orchestrated affairs that would make cruise directors weep with pride. Others are steeped in vague suggestions like “check out the soccer game, have lunch in the dining hall, then enjoy the city.” Neither one guarantees a great weekend. While it sounds good to have a full dance card, it could dupe you into touring the third floor of the research library instead of hanging with your kid on her break between classes. But on the other hand, “enjoy the city” translates roughly into “better spend tons of time on the internet finding something to do besides eating cafeteria tator tots.”

But by asking your student one question, you can transcend events, schedules, and the particularities of their college to ensure that everyone gets a needed boost from the visit. For you: time with your child you have been missing so much. For your kid: moments of unconditional love where they can bask and relax.

There's so much anticipation surrounding visiting your freshman in college that the weekend can actually flop. Ask this one question to make family weekend a success. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Are you ready for the magic words? Drum roll please . . .

When and how can you spend time with us during this weekend?

Simple, right? It’s so simple, it’s often overlooked. Here is why this question is the key to everything.

  1. Your kid has a whole new life. While there continues to be space in your home life for them, their college life has been created without you. There is no place for you to pick up where you left off. The time and space for your visit has to be crafted.
  2. Your kid probably doesn’t know the event schedule. More often than not, YOU’VE been getting the Family Weekend emails, not them. They are just trying to navigate their classes, and maybe a social event or twenty.
  3. Family Weekend is not a national holiday. While you have these dates blocked off in Sharpie on your calendar, your kids’ professors and bosses do not. Class deadlines and work schedules do not break for this weekend.
  4. Your child is hosting you, but they may not realize it. Just like you had to teach your little darling to say please and thank you, you need to teach him how to manage visitors. More than likely, they are use to following your plans, and it’s really not self-explanatory how to take over the reins.

So how do you teach them to host you? Most importantly, start a couple of weeks in advance, or at least allow time for more than one discussion. Don’t put them on the spot. No perfect weekend ever came out of that. Just like everything in parenting, take baby steps.

  1. Forget the word “perfect” and adjust your mindset. I’ve throw it around a couple of times here, but now it’s time to throw that expectation out. Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel better? Also, throw out the notion of spending every minute together (or that you have to attend the scheduled events). It bears repeating that you have to honor their schedules, commitments, and new life. And while we’re tossing things to the curb, also school yourself to not assume anything. Your mantra should be “Clarify Everything.” Ohmmmm.
  2. Ask your kid if she has seen the schedule for Family Weekend. She probably has not. Offer to forward it to her so you can decide together how to make it work.
  3. Follow-up that email. Text your kid and ask him to call you when he can talk about Family Weekend. This conversation is when you ask, “When and how can you spend time with us during this weekend?” Do not expect finalized plans. This is why you started this ball rolling early.
  4. Follow-up until you have a plan. Ask for realism, honesty, and consideration in your discussions. Always remember that this is a learning experience for you all. Ask your kid if they want to stay with you in the hotel or in the dorms. They may want a break from the bunk beds or they may want to go back to the action. Decide if you want to take any of their friends out for a meal and be very clear about what time is purely family time. Also, ask if you can see their dorm room if that is on your list of “must dos;” don’t just assume entry without warning. It seriously may not cross their minds that you would want to see it again and you WANT to give them time to clean up. You need to respect that it is also their roommate’s space.
  5. The best plans are flexible. All of that planning is the key to success, but don’t be a slave to it. There are no gold stars to be had, only good memories. Scheduled events aren’t really fun? Scrap them. You just saw a banner for an apple festival and you all are dying for some pie? Make time for it.

I present this advice to you because it worked for my family. We made our first night in town strictly for family, then took a group of her friends out to brunch and shoe shopping (which turned out to be my favorite). On Saturday we didn’t even see her because it was her first big rivalry football game and she wanted to be a part of all of the festivities, including sitting in the student section. We went to the game (I LOVE college football), but watched from the parents’ section.

There's so much anticipation surrounding visiting your freshman in college that the weekend can actually flop. Ask this one question to make family weekend a success. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

She slept in her dorm, but hung out with us at our hotel on Sunday enjoying the food and the privacy of the luxurious bathroom (“I don’t have to wear shower shoes!”). We visited her dorm room during the middle of the day when her roommate was out.

While it was not a perfect weekend, everyone’s expectations were perfectly met because we assumed nothing, respected our daughter’s new life, and discussed how we were going to fit into it. I still can’t wipe the smile off of my face.

What was your experience with Family Weekend?

-Ellen 

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

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Laundry Survival Tips for Your College Student (and You)

Laundry Survival Tips For Your College Student and You! It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing! | Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

First and foremost: THEY CAN DO THEIR OWN EVER-LOVING LAUNDRY!

Ellen: In a very few short weeks my daughter is traveling 1,147 miles away to college. In related news, I may personally make headlines if one more person asks me: “Wow, that’s far. Are you going to miss her?”

While that makes me want to kick a kitten, there is a dumbfounding twist to this irritating conversation that makes my jaw drop. They will say to my daughter: “Well that’s too far away for your mom to do your laundry. What are you going to do?”

“Um, do it myself,” she replies speaking veeeerrrry slooooowly. My high school sophomore daughter generally just stares in disbelief.

One woman of a soon-to-be college freshman even went so far as to tell us, “I told my son if he is coming home every weekend to see his girlfriend, she needs to do his laundry.”

My high school daughter (once again staring in disbelief) replied, “Or he can maybe do it himself?” To her credit, she saved, “Well, isn’t THAT a lucky girl?” for when we were back in the car.

At a party, the subject of laundry came up yet again (really), and a woman looked at me like I was Hermione Granger incarnate and breathed, “But HOW do you get them to do it?”

My high school daughter jumped in with, “Well, when we were too short to reach the buttons, she bought us a step stool.”

The woman may have lost some of her awe as she mentally lumped me in with the orphanage supervisor from Annie, but it’s whatever because this woman (me! it’s me!) is not her family’s laundress.

Erin: But it’s not only about how it benefits you, the parent, it’s about how it benefits your kid. While Ellen is getting an inkling of the laundry ineptitude at college, I KNOW about the lack of skills. My son was the hero of his freshman floor because he knew how to work a laundry machine and what products to use in it. He made lots of friends and he should have gotten a thank you note or two from some parents.

So to recap thus far:

  1. If your precious is smart enough to attend college, they can work a washing machine.
  2. It is not Quantum Physics. (See number one.)
  3. Girlfriends are not for laundry. (Neither are mothers.)
  4. Laundry skills = instant popularity.

Even if your kid has never lifted a stain stick, it’s not too late! Don’t let them learn about it on the streets . . . er, on the freshman hall. Bonus: they probably won’t even need a step stool. Here’s a laundry checklist/tutorial/pure genius to share with them.

Syllabus for College Laundry 101 |It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing! | Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Syllabus for College Laundry 101

Supplies:

  • Laundry bags, hampers, and/or baskets (Basically, containment for the filth.)
  • Zippered mesh washing bags (Sometimes called lingerie or delicates bags.)
  • Detergent pods
  • Stain stick
  • Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus
  • Dryer fabric softener sheets
  • Optional: Drying rack (Over-the-door models are great space savers.)
  • Optional: color catching sheets

The Basics

It’s all about the sorting.

Darks get washed with darks and lights get washed with lights. Don’t be the cliché who turns their underwear pink with a red sock; it’s sad.

Either have two separate hampers (the preferred method) and sort as you take the clothes off or sort at the machine. Have a bunch of mesh washing bags near your hamper(s) for things you don’t want to go in the dryer like bras, the tissue paper that passes for Forever 21 clothing, and sports jerseys. Put these items in the zippered bags AS SOON AS YOU TAKE THEM OFF to avoid mishaps.

Also, treat stains with your stain stick before you put them in your hamper. Chances are pretty good you won’t remember about that ketchup blob on laundry day. But take note of this: nothing sets a stain like a spin in the dryer.

It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing! | Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

What to do with an item that is both light and dark? Most likely wash it with darks because then it becomes all about the water temperature (see below). There are also color catching sheets you can add to your load to “grab” any dye that bleeds.

Besides color, there is another consideration: texture and weight. For example, jeans are best washed in a load by themselves. Think about denim grating against your t-shirt for 40 minutes. It might not have a good outcome. If you have more than one towel, you may want to consider washing them by themselves. A couple of towels bunched up in a load can throw a washing machine off-balance, but this is not as big of a deal in a commercial machine.

One important note: don’t tightly stuff the tub with your clothes. They need room to agitate.

This is a good time to brush up on your reading.

Hey, when confusion sets in, read the label! It’s jammed packed with all sorts of information like what wash temperature to use and whether you should hand wash it. There’s a chart available here to help you crack the code of those symbols.

One caveat, cheaper clothes are often labeled “hand wash.” We often get away with washing them in mesh bags in the machine on a cold water setting. It’s all about the risk. If you would be devastated that your favorite shirt got ruined, hand wash it. If it was SUPER expensive and/or made of wool or silk and it’s labeled “hand wash,” you should heed the instructions. Buuuuutttttt, if it was a twelve dollar shirt that you probably won’t wear past one season anyway, it’s up to you to see what you can get away with.

It’s also about the temperature.

If you want to keep it simple starting out, wash everything in cold. But remember darks should always be washed in cold water. If you are feeling a little braver, lights can be washed in warm with a cold water rinse. Towels, sheets, and your gross light colored gym socks and basic underwear can be washed in hot if the labels say it’s okay.

SO many buttons.

The good news is that commercial washers are pretty straightforward and generally have instructions printed on them. Home washers tend to try to be fancier and more confusing, but all you have to do is Google the model to find the instruction manual.

In general, the “Normal/Cotton” cycle has a high agitation level good for dirtier clothes, “Permanent Press” is a warm wash followed by a cold rinse, and “Delicates” has the least rambunctious agitation and spin cycle.

Don’t forget the detergent.

Detergent pods are the best thing to happen to college students since their acceptance letters. No more schlepping heavy detergent bottles around. One note: the pods go in the bottom of the washer before you put your clothes in, not in the soap dispenser.

It’s dry time!

Back to that pesky label reading thing. Drying instructions should always be heeded. If a tag indicates an item should not go in the dryer, IT SHOULD NOT GO IN THE DRYER. For those things that can go in the dryer, throw in a fabric softener sheet and set the machine for the recommended temperature.

A good life practice is to fold/hang clothes as they come out of the dryer. For those of you snorting over this suggestion, see the next step.

Ironing.

Hahahahahahahaha! More jokes! Ironing barely happens in our own homes.

It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing!! | Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Here’s Ellen’s situation.

Here’s what the ironing organizer is really used for on the daily.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus | It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing!! | Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Which leads us to our next step . . .

Wrinkle releasing.

Here’s assuming your clean laundry is in a wrinkled heap in your basket. (We tend to be realists.) You can A) seek out the kid whose delusional mom actually thought she would use an iron or B) whip out your Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. Just spray, tug, smooth, and hang and you’re good to go (remember to allow for a very wee bit of time for drying).

Laundry denial.

So you let your dirty clothes pile up under your bed, in your closet, or beneath your sleeping head? Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus can fix that too. Spray it, spray it real good, to eliminate the odor and ensure peaceful cohabitation with your roommate. (You can even spritz their piles if they are the offenders.)

Laundry karma.

Listen closely to this one. Never, EVER, pull a person’s clean laundry out of the washer and dump it onto the floor. You do NOT need to send that kind of bad juju out into the universe to bite you in the butt when you least expect it.

ONE LAST TIP!

It’s not an urban legend that a majority of students do NOT change their sheets. It’s a joke because people are laughing through the tears . . . because the funky sheets are making their eyes water. While we firmly believe kids should do their own laundry, we acknowledge that parents might have to do this trick at move-in.

  1. Put down the cushy mattress topper.
  2. Cover with a mattress protector.
  3. Put on a fitted sheet.
  4. Layer on ANOTHER mattress protector.
  5. Top with ANOTHER fitted sheet.
  6. Make bed up with the flat sheet, blanket, and comforter.
  7. Artfully arrange pillows.
  8. Take a picture because it might never look this way again.

So the thought is, that after a week or fifteen, your student can just peel off the top sheets and mattress protector and have a fresh bed. Of course this isn’t foolproof because your precious still has to tuck in a clean top sheet and change the pillowcase, but it’s worth a try. You probably should recommend frequent spritzes with Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus just to be safe.

One last picture because we’re ironic like this. Okay, we know it’s not irony, but we at least qualify for punny. Right!?

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus | It's never too late (or too early) to teach your child life skills! Comprehensive laundry survival tips, advice and how-to for your college student and you! The bed-making and wrinkle busting tips are amazing!| Parenting Advice | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

While we were compensated by Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus for this post, all love for this product and hard-won advice about college laundry are all our own.

Get your coupon for Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus here!

Follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for more great tips!

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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Why This Mom is on Snapchat

Well, I guess the number one reason I’m on Snapchat is rooted deeply in my psyche. I always wanted to be a dragon for Halloween and because of gender bias stereotypes in the 1970s I was coerced into being a princess year after year instead. With Snapchat filters, I can realize my dream while parked in my driveway—no glue gun or sewing skills required.

Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Just kidding. I always got to pick my costumes. I’m on Snapchat because I have teenagers—and not for the reasons that may immediately come to mind like monitoring their activity and just plain understanding what they’re up to on their phones. Articles about managing your children’s social media have been written. Heck, we’ve written one.

No, this is more of a “if you can’t beat them, join them” sort of thing . . . or maybe it’s more like a “beat them at their own game” deal. Either way, I sound uber-competitive and that was not my intent. My point is that I’m on there to interact with them through their preferred mode of communication. My theory is that if I make it easy for them, I am going to get more frequent interfaces with them. I bet your grandma loves letters, but when was the last time you sent one? Hmmm?

This grooming them to share their day with you may seem trivial when you can just get the recap around the dinner table or on the way to lacrosse practice. It can cause a mild panic attack when it hits you that you are sending your babies away to college.

This has nothing to do with “helicoptering” either. It’s just that some of my favorite people in the world are the ones I created and I like to see their fun and joy. Just because they have the freedom to spread their wings and leave the nest doesn’t mean we have to be incommunicado. That’s not how family works.

My descent into Snapchat began when my senior in high school went with her marching band to Disney World. I felt fine sending her on her own because in seven extremely short months she would be on her own in college anyway. It’s just I was bummed missing out on the fun of it all. I love Disney and I ADORE watching my kids experiencing it. With Snapchat, she was able to quickly share tidbits (like taunting me with the balmy temps) and I could follow her “Story”—the photos she strung together to represent her day.

Do you feel like I have crossed over into a different language? Watch this quick tutorial I put together. Many of my friends complain that Snapchat is not intuitive, but they didn’t have two teenagers giving them the guided tour. I tried to recreate the same thing for you  . . . minus the exasperated eye rolls.

I do recommend downloading the Snapchat app to your phone and opening it up for the first time before watching the video so that it makes some sort of sense to you.

Also, here are two terms to help you orient yourself as you get started. (You can view more here, but once again, they will not make much sense until you tool around the app a bit.)

  1. Snap: a video or a picture captured and shared on the Snapchat app.
  2. Story: Snaps shared to all of a user’s Snapchat friends are compiled into a series of photos or videos called a Story. Unlike individual Snaps, which disappear almost instantly, Stories stay on the app for 24 hours. The snaps sequentially disappear as they reach their 24 hour expiration marks. Snapchat users may also download their own Stories to keep a permanent record of each day’s events, if desired.

 

Here’s Why I Like Snapchat

Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

  • It doesn’t last forever. I like to think of them as the telephone conversations of yore. It’s communication in the moment without a trail (and without taking up storage on your phone). While you can replay a Snap, you’d better do it quickly because you only have a minute or two.
  • It is communication on-the-go. While you might annoy your college freshman with a “check-in” call or text while they are in the middle of something, they seem to always be up for sending a goofy face.
  • It shows your interest. Getting on Snapchat should be the opposite of stalking your kids on social media. It’s about fun and showing your kids they’re important enough for you to meet them where they “live.”
  • It lets me know where I am. This was an unexpected bonus. When we were traveling up to Boston University this past spring, I could snap a picture along our way up I-95, swipe right, and the geofilters would tell me exactly where we were. (Note: not all locations have geofilters.) I could also check my husband’s speed without being obvious. Ahem.
Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Janel Mills (from 649.133 – Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of.) and I definitely already knew we were in Atlantic City. It was just fun to share.

  • It has given me unexpected insights. Back to Boston University. My daughter and I followed the School of Communication “Story” and it made a huge impact on her decision that students were still wearing parkas to class in April. And there was snow on the ground. In April.
  • It has given me cool points. My kids’ friends CANNOT believe I am on Snapchat. Added bonus is that I can stay in touch with them even when they are no longer parading through my house because my daughter is off to college. (The “sob” is implied.)
  • It’s just for me. This point might just pertain to myself and bloggers like me, but this is my only social media account that is not a “platform” for me (although some bloggers are using it that way to fabulous ends like Mommy Shorts.) I can just go on here to play, not create content for the world.

Minor Etiquette Points

  • Inform your teen before jumping on and explain you are doing it to communicate . . . and get the kickin’ filters. My youngest daughter usually blocks me from viewing her story . . . and I’m okay with that. If she wants to send goofy things to her friends (don’t worry, we have the sexting/bullying/strangerdanger talk about ever 52 hours), I don’t have to be a part of it. I liken it to the way I would have felt if my parents listened on the extension to my teenage phone conversations. (Could there be a more 80s sentence than that?)

On the flip side, she is the only one I have a “Snapstreak” with. Once you and a friend have Snapped each other (not Chatted) within 24 hours for more than one consecutive day, you start a “streak” . . . and the pressure builds not to break it. I broke our last one and I’m still hearing about it.

Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

  • You don’t have to respond to pictures by sending a Chat. One of the reasons often cited for teens’ love of the app is that it reduces the pressure for feedback in terms of “likes” and comments. When sending pictures and videos, teens don’t have to worry about whether their “like count” will indicate their level of popularity like it does on Instagram.

With that being said, my friend, the profoundly talented, outrageously hilarious Rebecca from Frugalista Blog sent me this Chat when I was posting all those Snaps on My Story as examples.

Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Chats like these are ALWAYS welcome, no matter what any whipper-snapper says. Just know that the pressure is off because people don’t expect you to respond.

  • If you do need to respond to the under-20 set, they will probably expect a Snap back. Either just take a random (often blurry) picture of the floor or wall, and caption your response on it or you can take a selfie of your expression.

Got a teen? Then you should be on Snapchat . . . and not for the reasons you might think. Find out why this mom (spoiler: the mom is me) is on there. Great and easy Snapchat tutorial, too. | Parenting | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

This is not everything by far, but I hope it helps. The biggest takeaway is that if you have teens, you are missing out on a huge way to connect if you are not on Snapchat with them. Also, don’t be afraid to swipe and tap around on the app. You never know what you’ll unlock.

Happy Snapchatting!

-Ellen

 

Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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How to Stay Connected with Your College Kid

We are on a wild ride here at The Sisterhood: The Express Chute to College. It goes from 0 to 600 without any brakes, takes surprise hairpin switchbacks that leave your disoriented for days, swings your emotions from elation to heartbreak on the turn of a dime, and grinds your bank account until it physically hurts . . . but we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s a blessing, but, oh my goodness, it’s exhausting. Between the two of us, we’ll be on this ride so long we may need a rehabilitation program to adjust us to life without SATs and submitting the Common Application on the regular.

Just so you can be sure to follow along on your scorecard, Erin has five kids–four sons and one daughter–and Ellen has two daughters. Erin kicked this party off by sending her oldest son to college last year, Ellen sends her oldest daughter away in August, Erin follows up the next year with her daughter, then we both get a two year break until “Boom!” Erin sends another son while Ellen sends her youngest daughter for a double graduation year. But wait, there’s more! Literally. Erin has two more sons.

And we’re not going to sugarcoat it, it’s hard adjusting to the shifting dynamics of your family. You almost feel like you need a guide. Luckily Erin wrote one: Handle with Care: A Sweet and Simple Guide to Helping Your Friend Send Her Kid to College. If you need some commiseration or direction, this is it.

But just to cut to the chase, there is one lifeline that will trump all others. Staying connected. We’ve written oodles of advice about keeping the lines of communication open with your kids, BUT . . .

Sometimes it’s not about leaving yourself open to their ideas and opinions.

Sometimes it’s not about leaving your own agenda behind and following their lead.

Sometimes it’s not about keeping your mouth shut and your ears open.

SOMETIMES IT’S ONLY ABOUT THEM HAVING A CHARGE ON THEIR EVERLOVIN’ PHONE WHEN THEY HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK TO YOU.

How to Stay Connected With Your College Kid | How do you stay connected with your child across the miles? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Seriously. Sometimes it’s that simple. And what is simply wonderful is that this is one of those moments where blogging has made our parenting easier and better. We have been lucky enough to partner with myCharge several times over the past couple of years, but this time they really came through for us by gifting us the myCharge HubPlus 6000mAh. (By the way, we’re able to gift you with a 40% off coupon code and a chance to win an iPad mini and a HubPlus of your very own, but more on that in a bit, also known as “at the bottom of the post.”)

We’re not even kidding when we say myCharge gave Erin one of the best conversations of her life.

Erin: Since my son went to school 300 miles away, texting has been our connection. There have been some calls and Face Time with the whole family boisterously talking over top of each other as is the dog pile M.O of the Dymowski clan, but calls between just my boy and me have been few and far between. Until The Call.

I hadn’t shared an actual conversation with him since our good-byes as he went back to school after winter break. So while I was pleasantly surprised when HE called me out of the blue, my first words were a panicky “Is everything ok? Are you bleeding?” But he babbled right over my initial nervous blurt, we bantered a little, and then he talked NON-STOP for the better part of an hour. It was Christmas in April, a ticker tape parade, and perfect haircut all rolled up in one! I heard all about his summer internship (which I knew nothing about), his new girlfriend (who I sort of knew about. Thank you, Instagram feed!), his classes (which his sister said were kicking his butt), and his work on the television and radio stations there (which I watched or listened to each week). Never underestimate the power of real spoken words in real time over the airwaves to warm a Mom’s heart and keep the connection going strong.

How to Stay Connected With Your College Kid | How do you stay connected with your child across the miles? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

This picture with myCharge was posed when I picked my boy up from school, but the moment myCharge gave me with my son was 100% authentic. We call this one: Call your mother!

Ellen: And remember those hairpin switchbacks we were talking about on The Express Chute to College? My family was thrown for its own loop. Just eight days before a commitment had to be signed, we were visiting the University of Miami–an eleventh hour addition to the Common App. A school that was ultimately added because of its academics and opportunities, but was initially thought of because I asked my daughter to apply to a school in a city that was not a past terrorist target. See, the applications were due just weeks after the Paris bombings and her school choices were all located in either Boston, New York City, or Washington, DC.

So, Miami wasn’t the top choice–at that point, she was pretty set on Boston–so only my daughter and I went down because, well, airfare. But our trip seemed worthwhile from the get-go because our meetings with students and the assistant dean impressed us. And as we texted, snapchatted, instagrammed, facebooked, and tweeted our way through the campus (to keep my husband and family in the loop), my daughter knew this was the one. The joy in her face and voice can still choke me up. And all I could think of was “I can’t believe this is the one Frank missed after going all over the East Coast.”

I told her, “You have to call your father and explain to him how this feels to you. Texting is not enough”

And I’m not even kidding, because of myCharge she could. Snapchat can kill a battery.

She dialed her dad for an actual conversation which is almost like spotting a unicorn except more rare.

How to stay connected with your college kid? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

And they talked . . .

How to stay connected with your college kid? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 And talked.

How to stay connected with your college kid? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Because we had the battery power, her Dad was able to share in the magical moment, I was able to take pictures of the whole thing, we were able to continue using Google maps to get us around, and we both never missed a beat on social media. Did I mention my daughter and I both fully charged our phones off of a single HubPlus charge??

But enough about us! Let’s talk about what you can get! If you’re a US resident you can enter to win your own iPad mini and HubPlus! We’ve been talking about all that it has done for us phone-wise–like extending talk time by a whooping 45 hours–but this baby is so powerful it can charge an iPad! And no cords to lose! The wall prongs, micro-USB cable, and Apple® Lightning™ cable are all fully integrated. And one of our favorite features is the pass through charging. You can plug this into the wall, plug in your device and the powerbank and connected device will charge simultaneously. We never knew how much this was missing from our lives until MyCharge introduced us to it.

How to stay connected with your college kid? Modeling good listening skills is a must, but it may be as easy as making sure their phone is always charged. myCharge HubPlus can help. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Even if you don’t win the giveaway or unable to enter because you’re not a US resident, you can still come out on top.

Go here to myCharge, enter promo code CONGRATS and receive 40% off your very own HubPlus! (The code is valid until the end of June 2016.) There is free shipping on all orders over $25. These would make swell graduation or Father’s Day gifts!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and stay in touch!

Ellen and Erin

We were compensated for this post, but all love for our college kids and this product are genuinely our own.

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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Inspirational Quotes for Graduates That Aren’t Cheesy

Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

It’s the season for endings, for new beginnings, and for change. It’s the season for both reflecting on the past and embracing the future. It’s the season for . . . graduation speeches galore. Nothing centers a speech—or even a graduation card sentiment—like a good quote, but enough with the “reach for the stars” and the “follow your dreams.”

Follow the road less traveled and skip the Robert Frost quotes. Be the cool aunt who throws down some Game of Thrones or the Valedictorian who kicks off their speech with a little wisdom from the Terminator. We’ve done the research, now all you have to do is deliver the clever.

Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

-J. K. Rowling

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.

-Will Rogers

Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

-Arthur Ashe

 

Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Nobody else is paying as much attention to your failures as you are . . . to everyone else, it’s just a blip on the radar screen, so just move on.

-Jerry Zucker

 

Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.

-Bo Bennett

"Opportunity Dances With Those Who Are Already On The Dance Floor." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.

-Jackson Browne

"Do. Or do not. There is no try." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

-Yoda

"The harder you work, the luckier you get." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

-Gary Player

"Once you've accepted your flaws no one can use them against you." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Once you’ve accepted your flaws no one can use them against you.

-Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

"Just remember, you can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

We know we’ve hit a nice even ten, but we couldn’t resist just one more. Graduates or the graduate in your life might not appreciate it, but if you are of certain age, this will make you smile. Consider it our gift to you.

"When I was your age, we didn't have the Internet in our pants. We didn't even have the Internet not in our pants. That's how bad it was." Nothing centers a speech, or even a graduation card sentiment, like a good quote, but enough with the "reach for the stars" and the "follow your dreams." Check out these inspirational quotes for graduates that aren't cheesy. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 When I was your age, we didn’t have the Internet in our pants. We didn’t even have the Internet not in our pants. That’s how bad it was.

-Dick Costolo

-Ellen and Erin

Want some more reading about graduation?

Ten Things I Want to Say to My Son Before He Graduates

Graduation got you a little verklempt? 10 Things to Say Before They Graduate

 

Advice for My Daughter as She Graduates

Advice for my daughter as she graduates

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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