No doubt you’re enjoying the freedom college gives to its students. You can do whatever you want, spend your time however you please, and forge relationships with whoever you choose.

But undergrads more often than not let one of their most important relationships fizzle on the back burner when they enter college: the rapport they share with their parents.

Here’s how to keep that parent-child bond strong; it’s more important in the college years than you think.

Skype Conversation

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1. Keep in touch.

Call your mom or dad once a week. Or Skype them. Or at least shoot them a quick e-mail or text.

Let them know you’re alive; they’ll appreciate that.

2. Actually talk to them.

We’re not talking “Hi, kay, bye” conversations. Speak in full sentences.

Let them know what’s going on in your life. Ask what’s happening in theirs.

Chances are, you’ll like hearing your parents’ voice and they’ll like hearing yours.

3. Send them stuff.

No, not an economy-sized care package (though if you do think that’s the best route to go I won’t stop you). Send them simple things like a card or pictures or links to websites.

Cards on holidays are also a great way to let your parents know that you are thinking about them and that you care. Head to CVS or the store on campus and pick up a card for big and little holidays; it will mean the world to them to receive a hand-written card from you.

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I have sent them the majority of funny things I have found while trolling the interwebs since the beginning of freshman year (my family did seem to like Trololo Guy, though).

4. Don’t hang up on them.

If your conversation takes a turn for the worst no matter how bad it gets, there is never an excuse to hang up on your parentals.

You’ll feel bad, they’ll feel bad (and, more often than not, extremely disrespected). And, let’s face it, you love your parents too much to disregard them, even if you are an exorbitant number of miles away from home.

Your parents love you and have probably helped cultivate whatever beliefs you hold now as the worldly collegiate student you are; the least you can do is give them a ring or drop them a line sometime. Who knows, you might even get some kind of care package out of it.

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