How To Cope With a Sibling Moving to College

A sibling moving to college can be a challenging transition for you and your entire family. Naturally, you’re going to miss seeing them after school and hanging out with them on the weekends. However, the good news is this new season in both of your lives may be an excellent time to grow closer than ever, both with your sibling who has moved away and with your parents and siblings still at home. 

If you’re concerned about the upcoming transition and how to cope, we at Lovebox have a few steps that will help both of you make the transition easier and make the distance seem closer than ever! 

Will Your Relationship Change When Your Sibling Moves to College? 

You may be worried that your relationship will change when your sibling moves to college, either for the good or the bad. Rest assured, your connection will change, but it can most certainly change for the good! With our tips, you will find ways to stay close and keep up with each other's lives like you’ve most likely never had to do before in your relationship. 

It’s easy to take your relationship with your sibling for granted when you grew up in the same house. However, when your sibling moves away for college, you know you must learn how to intentionally seek out a relationship with them and get to know each other in this new season. Try looking at your current transition as an excellent opportunity to build and grow your relationship! 

The Key to Coping With a Sibling Moving to College

Although nothing will fully prepare you for a change in your home life, being as fully prepared as possible for the upcoming transition is the key to coping. For example, maybe you could visit your sibling’s campus before moving and see where they will live or take a virtual tour of the campus and dorm room.

Perhaps, if you’re getting their old bedroom, you can work on the bedroom change together before they move out. Whatever changes will happen due to their transition to college, try to be as involved as possible so you can transition easily into your new home life.  The key to coping is preparing yourself with the realities of what is to come. Feel confident in the transition and know that your family will be there for both of you as your older sibling spread their wings for the first time. 

Ways To Cope With a Sibling Moving to College

Keep reading to discover our best tips for coping with a sibling moving to college!

Talk About the Upcoming Changes

Talking through all the upcoming changes is one of the essential ways to learn how to cope with a sibling moving to college. Have a conversation with your parents and siblings and discuss your new family dynamic. How often will you visit your sibling? Who is sharing or taking on your sibling’s responsibilities since they will no longer be in the home? Will someone else get their bedroom? 

Maybe not much will change except your sibling won’t be home from school every evening. On the other hand, perhaps they are going to college close by and will be home every weekend. Whatever the case may be, find a time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your parents before your sibling moves out. They’ll be missing your sibling as well and would probably love to have a conversation about how the family will adjust to any changes that may come your way. 

Help Your Sibling Move Into Their Dorm

Moving into a dorm will be a difficult adjustment for your sibling as well. One great way to cope with a sibling moving to college is to help them in the moving process so you will both be busy and not overthinking about them leaving. Help them purchase fun items for their dorm and pack everything for the big move. Your sibling and parents will appreciate the help, and this gives you an excellent opportunity to be more involved in the moving process and feel better about the transition. 

On moving day, help your sibling set up their dorm and find fun ways to decorate their dorm room. Go with them to check out their hall and any common rooms they can use. Participating in the dorm transition helps you see where they will be living and helps you feel accomplished in helping your sibling move on campus. 

Keep Up With Their New Life

If you’ve been wondering how to cope with a sibling leaving for college, keeping up with their new life is one of the best ways to help adjust. Get to know your sibling’s roommate and their new friends at school. Ask about their classes and keep up with their schedule. College is an important time in your sibling's life, as hard as it may be for both of you to adjust to the changes. It is the time for your sibling to find out who they are and what they want to do in life. 

Ensure your sibling you are supportive of them no matter how complex their classes may be. Knowing they have you on their side makes a smooth and successful transition for both of you. by keeping up with the small details of their college days, you will be able to cope with them having a new schedule and a new set of friends outside of the family. A little bit of encouragement from a sibling goes a long way! 

Make Plans for a Weekend Visit

Plan for a weekend visit to stay in the dorm with your sibling. Find a weekend where their school allows visitors to stay over. Some colleges and universities even have events and programs for visiting high school seniors to stay on campus with a current student and attend class to learn more about the university experience. Check to see if your sibling’s college has a program like that to spend some time with them in their new environment. 

If their school does not allow visitors to stay in the dorm, perhaps you could stay in a nearby hotel and visit them on campus during the day. Your sibling would probably love to have you close by for a few days.

You would get to enjoy experiencing life as a college student. However, college can be a busy, stressful time for most students, so don’t get your hopes set too high if you cannot visit your sibling on campus. There will always be time on holidays and summer break to spend together. 

Make Plans To See Each Other Over the Holidays

If your sibling is coming home on holiday breaks, discuss beforehand some fun activities you want to do with them when they come back home. Before most holiday breaks are usually midterms or finals week, and your sibling may be highly stressed and busy trying to study for their tests. Try being supportive by sending encouraging texts or calls and reminding them you will get to see each other soon. They will be highly grateful for the support! 

Schedule a Weekly Time To Chat

You and your sibling will probably be super busy with school and adjusting to the new changes in both of your lives. However, try to schedule at least one weekly face-to-face chat to stay updated and keep a close emotional connection to each other. There may be some weeks where both of you are too tired and busy to find time in your schedule to chat, but try to make it a priority, even if it’s a quick call at bedtime to say hi. Both you and your sibling will benefit from a quick catch-up. 

Take Advantage of Modern Technology

Thanks to modern technology, the world is more closely connected than ever, which is good news for you when a sibling moves away! There’s an endless number of options for staying connected no matter how far apart you are from your sibling. From video calls, texting, WhatsApp, Skype, and countless social media options, you have plenty of choices for finding the best way to stay in contact with your sibling while they are in college. 

A simple call or face-to-face video chat goes a long way when you’re missing your sibling. Try to video chat a couple of times a week so you can see aspects of their new surroundings, and you can show them familiar settings from home they are probably missing. Texting is an excellent option for keeping up with each other’s day-to-day activities, and social media apps such as Snapchat are perfect for sending pictures throughout your day.

Frame photos of Each Other for Your Rooms

Say cheese! When your sibling is preparing to leave for college is the perfect time to take some updated photos. Having photos of each other in your rooms helps ease the transition of your sibling moving away to their college dorm. 

Find some of your favorite pictures of you and your sibling or take some new ones with a fun going to college photoshoot and frame them for both you and your sibling. Putting up pictures of each other in your rooms can help deal with the absence of each other. In addition, you could print collages of the two of you throughout the years or choose a digital photo frame to upload multiple photos to have visual reminders of each other throughout the day. 

Create a New Routine

After your sibling has moved to college, you may be wondering how your routine will change. Of course, it is perfectly normal to be anxious about a new pattern. However, it is an exciting time of change and opportunity for both you and your sibling! Maybe you’ll be driving yourself to school for the first time, or perhaps your younger siblings will now depend on you for rides and help with homework that your older sibling usually did. 

Therefore, you need to create your new routine and take advantage of the opportunities you now have available. Embrace the changes in your life now that your older sibling is gone to college, especially your new role in the family. Look at it as an opportunity for you to grow and spread your wings! Try to think positively about your own life and find things to get involved in that you may not have had time for before. Remember, it’s an exciting time for both you and your sibling! 

Be Happy for Your Sibling

Even though it can be challenging learning how to cope with a sibling moving to college, be happy for their success. Focus on the exciting opportunity to continue their education instead of being sad for their absence. It’s okay to be sad sometimes, but make sure you remind your sibling how proud you are of them and happy you are that they get to have these experiences. Knowing they have a robust family support system goes a long way when in college, even if they don’t say it—also, being reminded how their siblings' feelings about them and their accomplishments go a long way!

Spend Time With Parents and Siblings Still at Home

Spending time with your parents and siblings who are still living in the home is one of the best ways of learning how to cope with a sibling moving to college. Take the opportunity to spend quality time with family members you may not have spent much time with before when your sibling was at home. 

Get to know your other siblings better. Spend time with them after school. Talk with your mom and dad about their day and how you’re doing in school. They are likely looking forward to spending more time with you while your sibling is away. Of course, you’re all going to miss your sibling’s presence in the home, but how exciting is it to focus on the positive aspects of them going to college.

Start Thinking About Your Future College Plans

Watching your sibling prepare for college and make the exciting transition of moving on the campus of their college or university, you have a fantastic bird’s eye view of preparing for your future college plans! Ask your siblings questions as they transition into college life so you will have a better grasp of what it will be like when you begin your college career. 

Ask your sibling’s roommates and friends questions about their classes and what has helped them the most moving away from home. Take note of your sibling’s good and not-so-good decisions as they adjust to their new life. Learning as much as you can about your sibling’s experience in college will help you as you choose your college, your major, your roommates, and any other major decision when it comes to pursuing higher education. Your sibling will be glad to share their experiences, so you’ll be ready!

Surprise Your Sibling With Care Packages

Surprising your sibling with a care package with some reminders from home will instantly bring a smile to their face! Of course, who doesn’t love receiving unexpected packages in the mail? You don’t have to break the bank; just send your siblings items you know they particularly enjoy and are probably missing from home. 

For example, it could be a food item you and your family love to enjoy from a local market. Maybe it’s finals week, and they’re missing mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies right about now. Perhaps you can mail them the book you just finished reading, a book they’ve wanted to read. 

Sending a care package will help you cope with them moving away because you are helping them overcome their homesickness and keep you connected to each other no matter how far away your sibling may be. 

Talk to Your Parents

Have a conversation with your parents about how much you miss your sibling. Your parents are struggling just as much as you are with the transition of your sibling moving to college. So, if you’re feeling especially down or missing your sibling, talk to your parents about your feelings. You all love and miss your sibling, and you can all encourage each other through the difficult transition. 

It will make you both feel better about mentioning it to your parents. You can support each other as your family adjusts to their new normal. It may take some time to get used to your changing family dynamics. However, open and honest communication about how much you all love and miss your sibling will help ease the transition for all of you. 

Reach Out for Help

Seek out a trusted family friend or school counselor if you’re having difficulty sharing with your parents or just need additional tools to help cope with the transition. Sometimes, if your parents are still working through their own emotions regarding the household changes, you may not always feel comfortable sharing how much you miss your sibling. 

Everyone needs extra support sometime during some of life’s most challenging transitions, and a sibling moving to college is certainly no exception. So, reach out; you’ll be glad you did. 

Staying in Touch Is Easier Than Ever!

Staying in touch doesn’t have to be complicated or boring! If you find you and your sibling are getting bored with your current methods of communication, try our Lovebox Original Color & Photo. The Lovebox is a connected messaging device that pairs with our free app going beyond regular communication and delivering unique expressions of love and affection to your sibling at college. You can send cute notes, pictures, postcards, and even customizable stickers that you know they will love!

Simply create your message (you can even schedule your message if you need to!) and send it to their Lovebox Original Color & Photo through the app. The heart will spin when your sibling receives your message, and they can spin the heart to send you back a waterfall of hearts on your app. So if you want a super cute and unique way to keep in contact with your sibling, then look no further! 

One of the best parts is you can add as many Lovebox Original Color & Photo as you’d like to your app! You could get your parents the Lovebox for Parents and your grandparents the Lovebox for Grandparents and turn your connected messaging device into a family affair! Your sibling at college would love to receive sweet messages from the whole family while they’re busy with their new life at college! It’s an easy-to-use app and messaging device that any age can learn to use! 


Overall, finding ways to cope with a sibling moving to college is different for everyone. However, with our tips for making the difficult transition bearable and even fun, hopefully, you’ll both find your new life changes a growing experience for both of you! 

Take some time to find your new groove, and there’s a chance you and your sibling may be closer than ever since you will be more intentional in sharing and talking to each other regularly. We at Lovebox hope our suggestions help you transition into your new season of your sibling moving to college with confidence and hope! 




Empty nest sadness isn't just for parents: Siblings feel pain and loneliness, too | Washington Post

College Bound: The Impact on the Siblings Left Behind | HuffPost Life

When a child leaves the nest, how does it affect younger brothers and sisters? | Family | The Guardian

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