How To Create The Ultimate Care Package For Your Child In College

Sending your child off to college is a big step in any parent’s life. With the current global pandemic, it can be increasingly difficult for parents to stay physically connected with their college-bound children. Despite the health crisis, it is normal for your college-aged child to seek increased independence. However, they likely will still yearn for the comforts of home and knowing how much they are cherished within the family.

It is rare to find a college-aged child that actively seeks parental advice and affirmation; however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need it at some level. Similarly, it can be challenging as a parent not to smother your child from afar with a bombardment of phone calls and text messages. We’re here to show you how to funnel your parental instincts and nurturing needs into something that your child will be excited to receive, and even show off to their friends. Keep reading to find out how to make the ultimate care package for your child in college.



To start, you’ll need a box in which to put all your goodies. Our suggestion is to double up and make the container reusable. Large airtight food storage containers are always useful for keeping food fresh or just for storing school supplies. A shower caddy also makes an excellent hold-all for a care package. You can even think outside the box and use a laundry bag or a backpack to keep all of the treats together.

Putting together a care package is a fantastic way to show you care and that you are still there for your child, without smothering them. In the first few months of college, here are some suggestions of what to put into the box:

  • A travel mug
  • A personalized laundry bag
  • Sachets of laundry soap
  • A box of the same fabric softener you use at home
  • A calendar with family birthdays and other important dates already included
  • An old-school phone book with names, phone numbers and addresses of family and close friends included
  • Pre-stamped postcards with pictures from their hometown
  • A Halloween decoration for their dorm room
  • Halloween candy
  • A family photo from Halloween as a child and a short note reminding them about the day



By now, your child is likely starting to get homesick as the initial thrill of college life wears off and exam season starts. During this time, it can be tricky for any college student to maintain focus and give their physical and mental health the priority it needs. Here are some ideas about care package items to include before Christmas:

  • Gift card for a local coffee house
  • Basic medical supplies like bandages, pain relief tablets, and antiseptic ointment
  • A relaxation kit with face mask, fuzzy slippers and scented candle
  • Cough drops
  • Multivitamins
  • A pack of funny Christmas cards that they can give to friends
  • Miniature candy canes
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • A picture of the family pet
  • A Christmas advent calendar with a treat for every day



An excellent care package mixes just the right amount of necessary staple items with sentimental provisions. Things don’t need to be expensive, as it truly is the thought that counts. Your child will remember how much you love them every time they wait for their microwave popcorn.

  • Gift card for a local restaurant
  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Paperclips, rubber bands, Scotch tape
  • Daily affirmation desk calendar
  • Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, face wash, Chapstick and lotion
  • A travel sized manicure kit
  • An annual magazine subscription
  • A fun notebook
  • Instant soup mixes
  • Microwave popcorn



By now, we wouldn’t be surprised if your child has started dropping hints about what they would love to find in their next care package. Enjoy the process and buy one or two things when you see them on sale or when you have the urge to splurge. You’ll soon find new things to include, such as:

  • Gift cards for a nearby grocery store
  • A reusable water bottle
  • A USB drive
  • A stress ball
  • Sticky notes
  • Chewing gum
  • Easter chocolates
  • Focus supplements
  • Their favorite assorted teas
  • A mug from their home town or state


Summer Months

Some children might be packing up and heading home for the summer to settle back into their childhood bedroom. In contrast, other college students may decide to continue their academic pursuits with a summer semester. You may find that the allure of the big city holds onto small-town college kids as they pursue summer jobs or internships to get a jump start on their career. By now, you’ve likely realized that your child is growing up, forging their own path and making more of their own decisions.

With regards to your next care package, we recommend gearing it towards how your child will be spending their summer. If they are backpacking through Europe, send items that remind them of home and are easy to carry. If they are working full time, an alarm clock might be a good idea. Whatever the plan, we are certain that your child misses you as much as you miss them, even though they might be too busy to admit it. If your child has found themselves away from home, here as some ideas for a summer care package:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • A beach towel
  • A summer outfit – shorts, t-shirt or jumpsuit
  • A novel from their favorite author
  • New sandals
  • Gatorade or Crystal Light Mix
  • A gas card
  • A freezer mug


We’ve given you some great ideas to get you started, but personalizing the care package is the most important factor. If you know what their favorite chocolate or candy is, include that in the box. While there are plenty of pre-made care packages on the market, nothing says ‘I love you’ as much as a care package where the contents have all been thoughtfully considered and includes a short note about how much you love them. You might just be starting a new family tradition, so keep the creative ideas flowing to continue when your next child leaves for college.



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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