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Now that the first year students of 2015 are starting to settle in many parents may be planning their first trip to visit their little angels at their university of choice. If you are a kind and loving parent you may even be considering taking them a little goodie basket of home comforts to help them get through the winter months without you. But what do students actually want or need from their parents?
This varies from person to person, of course, but there are a few staples that every student needs. So here are some idea if you are thinking of treating your son or daughter:
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This is the number one thing students need. In fact it’s the number one thing that people need to stay alive so it will be well received. From my own experience getting fancy, delicious food that I could never afford myself was really nice and I would advise including a couple of items like this (eg. mozzarella, olives, parma ham, crusty bread) but what students really need is the bare essentials. Just buying them a 3 kilo bag of pasta and 10 tins of chopped tomatoes, although, it is not very exciting, will save them loads of money and provide you with the peace of mind that only comes from know your child is not going to die of starvation. Now you know they will always be able to scrape something together, even when there is only £1 left in their overdraft.
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This, I’m sure, must be at the top of most students’ wish lists. Many of you will be thinking that you don’t want to pay for your child to get drunk every night and that is, of course, fair enough. However, if you are looking to buy your child’s affection, alcohol is the way to go. In all seriousness though, £30 which may seem like nothing to you could provide enough beers or spirits for two or three weeks of pre-drinks, which is a god send when your last loan payment is becoming a distant memory. And if all else fails, at least you can steer them away from the Sainsbury’s Basics Gin for a little while longer!
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You may think it is only girls that will be interested in this but trust me nothing prepares teenage boys for the cost of shampoo, body wash and toothpaste. If you consider that most students budget around £15-£20 a week for food and just one toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste costs around £5 you will realise that toiletries are extortionate in the eyes of students. For most, a little top up of the bare essentials is all that’s needed. If you have a style-conscious son or daughter though they will love it if you bring them up a bottle of the nice face wash or shampoo they used to use because it all likelihood they could never afford it now.
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If students think toiletries are expensive, they think cleaning products are the reserve of oil sheiks and oligarchs. For the price, most students would expect that a bottle of kitchen spray could squirt itself, grab a sponge and wipe down the surfaces for you. Likewise washing tablets, they are not gold encrusted so why do they cost £10? Bringing down a selection of cleaning products will distinctly lighten the financial load and ensure that even when money is tight your kids can at least afford to wash up and clean their clothes (not that they always will, mind you!).
Blankets, Bed Socks, Woolly Jumpers-
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This relates particularly to students no longer living in halls and for the first time in their lives entering into constant battle with the thermostat. No longer can your children blast their radiator at full heat, with the window open right above it, with no thought as to the consequence. Now heat has a cost, meaning many chose to live at temperatures that resemble the antarctic for half the year. Anything woolen will be much appreciated.
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Only you will know what this might be to your son or daughter. All I can say is that when you are living in your first student flat it doesn’t take long to get bored of cheap, crappy kitchenware from the pound shop and bare, ugly concrete walls. It is really nice to have something pretty or something cool to brighten up your room. Even something as small as a special cup to have my tea in made me feel like I at least had one nice thing to call my own. This can make a real difference if they are ever feeling a bit low or a bit homesick.
Just Bring Yourselves!
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Even if you turn up without a car full of food and alcohol your kids are going to be thrilled to see you. You might think that you are intruding or that they don’t have time but that is completely untrue. I loved having people to come and visit when I was at uni. It gives you an excuse to really explore the new city in which you are living and to visit all those museums and attractions that you have been meaning to but never quite got around to. They might not want to see you every weekend but once or twice a year it is lovely to get taken out for a yummy meal and to spend a grown up day with your parents.
Written by Tilly Embling for ELUCEO