Little things go a long way. When you were a kid, getting the red popsicle instead of the blue one set the tone for your entire day. And now that you’re a grown-up, not much has changed. You appreciate when the barista remembers your order, or somebody holds the elevator door for you. Now, think about little things to do for your parents when you’re living away from home for the first time. Returning the favor is always a good idea.
Those memes are totally right: What do you get your parents when you’re low-key broke, but they deserve an entire private island to themselves? You wish you could send them on a tropical cruise or buy them everything they’ve ever wanted. That would require a lot of cash that you don’t quite have, though. (Ugh, what gives?)
You pace around your room in your new apartment, trying to come up with clever ways to show them that you truly care. Maybe you could name a star after them, or a section of the highway? That doesn’t feel quite right. *Continues to ponder while grabbing a snack.* Then you have a lightbulb moment and realize that the best things to do for your parents are meaningful, and not made of money.
You get to work right away on a cute piece of artwork for their house, or call them up just to check in. These seven little things are just like that — simple, but thoughtful for when you just moved out of the house.
1Call And Check In On Their Lives
Rule number one to living away from home for the first time: Don’t be a stranger. Whether it’s your parents or your siblings, call and check in on the lives of the people you love. Trust me, it goes a long way, and is an easy way to show that you genuinely care.
Your parents are used to having you around all the time, so this is an adjustment for them as well. They’re going to ask you a thousand questions about your new apartment or your friends at school, but be patient and try to answer them all the best you can. When you get tired of having the spotlight, ask about what’s going on at home. Simple, right?
2Send Them A Homemade Snack
Back in college, my roommates and I never ran out of sweets. Every single time one of our parents visited, they brought cookies or brownies — and sometimes we didn’t know where to put them all. It was like our house turned into a bakery, except we did none of the baking.
Of course, we appreciated the homemade snacks. They were thoughtful and simple, and always made for a bright spot in our days.
Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve realized that sending homemade snacks is something sweet to do when you move out of the house for the first time, too. (Return the favor, you know? Plus, a tray of blondies sent directly to your parents’ door will never go out of style.)
3Make A Photo Album
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and maybe even more. So, make your parents a photo album of old vacations photos or current selfies and moments from your life. It’s simple, and something they can cherish forever.
Growing up, your parents probably filled albums with printed photographs from summers at the beach, or yours and your siblings’ first days of school. You haven’t looked at those snaps in ages, but whenever you do, it’s always a sweet walk down Nostalgia Lane.
4Watch Their Favorite Television Shows
One of the simplest — and possibly, most entertaining — ways to keep close to your parents when you move out is by watching their favorite television shows. Now, I’m not saying that you need to be a super fan and keep up-to-date on every single theory that’s circulating out there. But, being able to talk to your mom about Grey’s Anatomy or who just got voted off on The Bachelorette is sweet and simple.
To your parents, this is something fun that you can share. Now that you’re balancing work, life, and adulting, they’ve become your main sources for questions about the bills, and how to fix a broken water heater. Change up the conversation to movies, television, or even music. It’s a simple way to stay involved back home.
5Show Them Around Your New City
You might just move to a place down the road from your parents, or maybe you move to an entirely different state. The options are endless, and nobody’s situation is the same.
Either way, make it a point to show your parents around your new city. Show them coffee shops in your hometown they’ve never been to, or landmarks they’ve only ever seen in pictures. This is an easy way to make some new memories and get them involved in your new space. Now, when you’re on the phone and say, "Oh! I’m at that café down the block," they can put an image to the words.
6Make Plans For The Holidays
Especially if you moved somewhere far away from home, making plans to get together with your family means a lot. They’re on the East Coast and you’re on the West Coast. Just being in the same time zone for a bit makes a huge difference in the long run.
Typically, people use the holidays as a reason to go home and spend some time with their parents. Everyone cuddles up in their matching pajamas and watches movies, or just hangs and catches up on the latest drama amongst your cousins. Even thinking about it warms your heart a little bit.
7Ask Them For Help Every Once In A While
Your parents are always going to be your parents. They’ll want to be there for the big moments in your life, and lend a helping hand as much as they can. So, asking them for help every once in a while can actually be a sweet thing to do.
Sure, don’t ask them to do any huge favors — that’s not fair. But, call your mom if you have a question about cooking chicken, or ask your dad about finances or a new television show you think might be interesting. They are bound to appreciate those small moments when they can be there for you. The little things do go such a long way.
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