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Jul 17, 2012 7:29 PM

Tips for your child's first 'home away from home,' the college dorm

TUCSON - Sending your child off to college and helping set up his/her first "home away from home" is one of the many milestones in parenting. To give us some tips on how to prep your child's new pad, local child care expert and co-owner of Trusting Connections Nanny Agency, Rosalind Prather, stopped by the News 4 Tucson studios Tuesday. Here is information from her discussion with Allison:

What items do the dorms provide and which items will you need to bring with you?

Most residences provide students with a bed with mattress, desk, chair, dresser, curtains, bookshelves and a wastebasket. But check with your college first before assuming these will be there when you arrive. Aside from the obvious items you will need (like bedding, hangars, and laundry detergent) don't forget a fan or space heater (if they are allowed), a power bar/extension cord to plug in all your electronics, a lamp so you can study while your roommate is sleeping, and a robe and slippers, especially if your dorm has communal bathrooms/showers.

Should parents and students visit the dorm before purchasing these items?

It does help to know the configurations of the room and the size but visits might not be allowed or feasible for kids coming from out of town. Check out www.dormtours.net. Some schools allow you to take virtual tours of the room. You might also want to contact your roommate to coordinate ahead of time so you don't both bring the same items such as a microwave or refrigerator that are shareable. Check out the MicroFridge, an all-in-one microwave, refrigerator and freezer at www.microfridge.com. It is $399 but could save hundreds throughout the course of the year since it allows you to prepare cost effective meals in the room rather than eating out all the time.

It looks like you have already done some dorm shopping yourself!

Thanks so Dormco.com, where all of the items you see are from, college dorm shopping has never been easier. They offer a huge selection on everything you need, all in one place, at the lowest prices. I also love DormCo's Laundry Express bag with wheels...makes carrying dirty cloths back and forth to the laundry area much easier. It also folds for storage which is a huge plus for living with the dorm's space limitations.

I can imagine that while it is fun to help decorate and stock your child's dorm room, it also must be an emotional transition for parents.

Yes, remember that it is normal to experience feelings of loss but just remind yourself that you child is not moving away from you but rather towards his/her life and that you played a key role in making this possible and should be proud!

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