Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off

Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off

Parent Survival Kit for College Move In


You have known this day was coming for several months. You have shopped for all the dorm necessities on the College Dorm Room Check List, have them packed up (How to Move to the U), and everything is in the front hall ready to go in the car. But, what else do you need to ensure a smooth move-in day? There are a few “don’t forget” items you need to include in your Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off.

Also Check Out:

College Dorm Room Checklist

25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips


college move in


This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Whether you are approaching college drop-off with dread or excitement or a combination of both, you want the day to go as smoothly as possible. There is the potential for crowded hallways and staircases (forget the elevator), no or very little air conditioning, and a high emotional level from every person you bump into in these crowded hallways. Being prepared will keep you from bursting into tears as soon as you walk into your child’s very small room that is already full of her roommate’s stuff and her roommate’s five family members.





Plan to arrive at the time you have been assigned. Don’t try to beat the system. They have assigned the times for a reason and they will not want to check you in early. If you manage to beat the system and get moved in early, it will cause resentment from your child’s roommate who arrives to find the room already set up without his input.


college move in



A dollie or wagon. Hopefully, happy and enthusiastic upper classmen will meet you at the curb and take everything to the room for you. If this does not happen, you will be prepared to stack things in your wagon and make quick work of moving the stuff to the room.

We originally bought this wagon for our daughter’s track meets. It was awesome! It folds up flat, has drink holders, and all-terrain wheels. It is a life saver almost anywhere.


A wheeled ice chest with some cold drinks and snacks.

A door stop to prop the dorm door open while moving in or to keep the room from being too stuffy.

A few tools (electric screwdriver/drill, rubber mallet, hammer) for assembling shelves and drawer units.

Pen and Paper to make a list of items to go buy once you arrive.

Tape Measure. If you need to go buy shelves or drawer units, it will help to know the space available.

Alcohol Swabs and a blow dryer: These seem like strange items, but they will make hanging Command Strips so much easier. Getting the wall clean and dry before adhering the strips will make them stick better.

Kleenex (a few for your pocket and a box for the car).

Multi-purpose cleaner and paper towels to clean spots in the room or furniture that were missed by the last occupant.



Expect chaos and be ready to be patient and malleable to the situation.

Don’t plan to give advice to your child about room setup or anything else. This is not the time. It is their room and they need the freedom to decide where the bed goes, what drawer they want their underwear in, and whether they want you to unpack everything.

Take pictures of any existing damage to walls, floors, doors, and furniture in case it is an issue at move-out.

Plan a shopping trip. After you arrive and get the basic unpacking done, take a survey of the room and make a list of items to go buy. These may be items that were too big to bring with you or just some snacks and laundry detergent. A shopping trip gets you out of the dorm for a while and lets you and your child pick out a few last things together.

Find a place other than the dorm for your good-byes – some place calmer and more private. Take your child out to dinner or for ice cream as your last activity and say good bye there.


While it may be hard to believe, you both will survive the drop-off experience. Planning ahead and bringing a Parent Survival Kit for College Move In will certainly help. You cannot anticipate everything the day will entail, but having a few items at your fingertips will keep the panic at bay. When it is time to get in the car and drive away, smile through the tears and congratulate yourself on raising a spectacular kid who is ready for the adventures and experiences ahead.

See 25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips for ideas about how to set up the room and what to bring.

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Checklist



It’s time to move out of the dorm and get an apartment!!! I have compiled a complete New Apartment Checklist to assist you as you navigate the aisles of IKEA, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and order online. And best of all, the list is printable!! I have gone through stocking apartments with my sons and now my daughter will move into her first apartment this fall. They have lived in both furnished and unfurnished apartments. When we needed to furnish the apartments, we bought furniture from IKEA, Craig’s List listings, Amazon, and the Container Store.

The New Apartment Checklist printable is part of the Almost Empty Nest Member’s Library. Sign up below!


Also check out:

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

Back to College: The Essential Guide

First Apartment Care Package – A kitchen care package with recipes

New Apartment Care Package – A cleaning bucket with supplies and printable cleaning checklist

College Apartment Recipes

Adulting: 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World

New Apartment Checklist

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Here are some items to consider as you shop and gather items for your apartment. You will not necessarily need everything on this list. 

Furniture you may need for your new apartment:

Some apartments will be completely furnished, some partially furnished, and some will not have any furniture all. IKEA and Craig’s List are great places to get reasonably priced furniture.

  • Mattress: We have bought 2 of these mattresses. They are easy to ship, a great price, and are very comfortable.
  • Bedframe
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser
  • Desk
  • Desk Chair
  • Armoire (if there is not a closet)
  • Dining table and chairs and/or barstools
  • Couch
  • Chairs
  • TV
  • TV stand
  • Coffee table/end tables



  • Skillet
  • Sauce Pan
  • Mulitpot
  • Crockpot
  • Indoor Grill:  My sons have used their indoor grills more than any other appliance. It is an easy and quick way to grill chicken breasts, cook hamburgers, make grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.)
  • Airfryer: A great apartment cooking gadget. Great for heating frozen food to crispy perfection. It is also an easy place to cook one chicken breast. We love ours and my daughter wants one for her apartment.
  • A Cookbook like How to Cook Everything: The Basics
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Cooking Utensil Set
  • Can Opener
  • Pot Holders or Mits
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Pizza Pan
  • Silverware
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Mugs
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Coffee Maker
  • Toaster
  • Microwave (Check to see if the apartment provides one.)
  • Paper Towel Holder
  • Strainer
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish brush or sponge
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Food Storage
  • Trash Can
  • Trash Bags

Living Room

  • Streaming device and/or antenna. What is this antenna thing you ask? Back in the dark ages, it was all we had. Now you can use one to watch network television without cable or a paid streaming service. 
  • Lamps
  • Rug

Bedroom (***Check the size of the bed if the apartment is furnished. Some are twin XL and some are full-size)

Ideas from the Container Store

These modular drawers can be used under sinks, under beds, or to create a drawer unit

This Turn-It Organizer is also great in a bathroom cabinet. It is a lazy susan, so you can access items easier.

My daughter and I love our real acrylic makeup organizers. They can be configured to exactly fit your needs.

Ideas from the Container Store

Hanging Storage for sweaters, purses, and other items

Ideas from the Container Store

Cleaning Supplies

  • Vacuum
  • Bucket with cleaners and rags or sponges
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Swiffer


Storage Ideas

  • Shelving unit
  • Underbed storage
  • Storage Furniture (These Poppin box seats support 275 pounds and can be collapsed when not in use.)
  • Drawer organizers
  • Stacking drawers (I LOVE these modular drawers that can be configured to meet your exact storage needs. See 25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips for a picture of my daughter’s modular drawer set.)
  • Elfa drawers (These are amazing, come in many sizes, can be customized and will last forever. We have had some of our Elfa units for over 20 years. They will go from your child’s dorm room to their first apartment to their first place after graduation and beyond. They are also great for packing in.)

Ideas from the Container Store

Health and Safety

To Make the Apartment Comfortable and Personal


Other Practical items

The first goal of setting up an apartment is to purchase just enough items to make the apartment comfortable and functional, but not more than you need. The New Apartment Checklist. It is available in the Printables Library. Take it with you to the store or use it as you order online.

It can be helpful to have the dimensions of apartment rooms, closets, cabinets, and any furniture provided. If you have this information, take advantage of it, and plan out the room. If not, work with whatever information you have knowing that you can always go to the store or order additional items after you move in.


Best wishes as you and your child take on the adventure of a New Apartment.


Free Printable Apartment Checklist available in the Printables Library.

Sign up Below!

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Fellow Empty Nest blogger Linda Hanstra shares her experiences with her adult children moving back home in this post: Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents.

I knew it would happen.

Just as I began to relish the empty-nest life–the silence, the freedom, the lack of clutter–my daughter said, “I’m coming home!”

I’ve enjoyed the serenity of empty-nesting for much of the past four years. Our “party of two” is much simpler than the “party of six” we had for many years prior. I appreciate the reduced workload of only caring, cooking, and cleaning for two. 

It’s a stark contrast to when the kids come home and the noise level increases, as do the grocery bill, the dirty dishes, and the clutter. They fill the guest rooms and every square inch of extra space in the house with stuff. Lots of stuff. I hope this post Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents will help you if you find your kids boomeranging back to the nest.

Adult children living at home

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Having put four kids through college, I’ve experienced the Boomerang Kid scenario several times. I got used to their brief stays over school breaks and we learned to adjust, even for a whole summer. The biggest surprise was the extended visit during the pandemic of 2020 that doubled our household size overnight.

And here we are again, facing not one, but two boomerangs. With the recent college graduations of our final two kids (Woo-hoo!), our daughters are both coming home for…a while. With student loans to pay, an uncertain job market, and the cost of housing, it makes sense for them to avoid paying rent for a time. 

Are you making way for ducklings as well? Is your college kid returning home for the first time and you don’t know what to expect? Do you have a boomerang flying at you and you’re not sure how to catch it?

Let’s start by remembering our kids are no longer children, but rather young adults. They’re old enough to marry, buy a house, and have their own children, whether you (or they) are ready for it or not. With that adulthood comes a strong desire for independence. This means as parents, we step out of our former role as disciplinarian and commander-in-chief, and become (hopefully) a trusted advisor and friend instead. 

Here are the Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents to help you avoid potential conflicts, build lasting relationships, and gracefully catch that boomerang, and to live happily together.


If you don’t want to take on hours of extra work or spend all of your time nagging your young adult about cleaning up their dirty dishes, it’s important to assign chores and responsibilities early on. 

If your daughter had chosen (or hopes) to live on her own, she would do her own cooking. Every night. Asking her to make one or two meals a week not only helps you out, but is good practice for her. If your son has been away at college, he has learned how to do his own laundry. There’s no reason that should stop.


Don’t be afraid to talk openly about money. Or the lack thereof. For many young adults, it makes good financial sense to go back to their old digs for a time. As long as Mom and Dad haven’t downsized their home and there’s still a room available, why not? But this is usually not what either party desires for the long term. 

You can prepare your young adult for eventual independence by teaching them fiscal responsibility now. In exchange for free housing, require them to keep a budget, to pay off student loans, or even pay a small sum for the privilege of living at home. Review money matters with them regularly and determine what means are available as you help them plan a course of action for their financial future. 

If your child seems to be free-loading or taking advantage of you, it’s time to draw the line. Require job-searching goals and actions. If they can’t find their dream career, they may have to settle for flipping burgers for a time. Encourage them to move toward independence by setting reasonable limits on your handouts.


Your adult child receives many fringe benefits by living at home. Make a list of what you will provide and what you expect them to pay for or do in return. Don’t forget about internet, cell phones, and streaming services. Who will use them? Who will pay for them? 

What about transportation? Will you be juggling cars and who will pay for auto maintenance, insurance, and gas? If they don’t have means to pay in dollars yet, barter for a service, like mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. 


Will you be home for supper? 

Where are you going tonight? 

Will you be out late? 

What time do you work tomorrow?

Rather than a barrage of nagging questions, keep a family calendar to avoid schedule conflicts and surprises. Use texts or phone calls to check in. Let your young adult know what you expect and also what you need. Do you and your spouse miss your freedom and alone time? Let your kids know you want one night a week “sans kids.” 

Check out my Happy Together Checklists for talking points you’ll want to consider in kicking off clear communication. If it helps to put things in writing, consider creating an informal “lease,” outlining expectations for both sides.


Your standards of cleanliness and tolerance of clutter may differ from your young adult’s. Rather than make unrealistic demands that will erode your relationship, find a balance that you can both live with. What seems like laziness or a waste of time to you, might be relaxation for them. Permit them to have their own habits and space as long as it doesn’t take away from yours.

Remember, your child has grown and changed while away from home. Friends, professors, and mentors have shaped them. Their choices are not a reflection of only your parenting, but also of many outside influences. Make room in your life and heart for the mature adult they are becoming, with their own opinions, gifts, and personality. 


The Boomerang Kid days allow extra parenting opportunities. I’ve had many heart-to-heart talks with my adult children and have taught them skills and lessons we had little time for during their busy younger years. 

Use this added time to give instructions on cooking, gardening, and home maintenance; medical insurance, retirement plans, and career goals. Discuss issues of faith, values, politics, and current events. You can still be an influence in your adult child’s life, so listen with an open mind while giving advice sparingly and with love.

Finally, use this “bonus” time to build deeper, lasting relationships. Find interests you have in common and pursue them together. Eat meals as a family. Vacation together. Encourage your young adult to attend worship with you. Seek opportunities to laugh and have fun together. 

Before you know it, your nest will be empty and quiet again. You’ll miss the youthful energy, the conversations over coffee, and the joy of watching your child take their first steps…into adulthood. But in the meantime, follow these Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents as you get ready to catch that boomerang and live happily together!


CLICK HERE to access the FREE Happy Together Checklists! Spend 15 minutes upfront to save hours of potential conflict and misunderstanding. These questionnaires–one for the parent(s) and one for the boomerang kid(s)– cover expectations for household duties, food, finances, freedom, privacy, and more! 


Adult Children living at home checklist
Linda Hanstra

Linda is wife to Tom, Mom to Jared, Seth, Leah and Chloe, MIL to Maddie, and she’s now a grandma too! Linda is inspired by her everyday experiences and perspectives as a parent and empty-nester. Through biking, traveling, parenting her adult children, assisting her elderly parents, and spending time with family and friends, she captures stories to encourage you in your everyday. If your nest is full-for-now, soon-to-be-empty, or all the birds have flown, Linda’s message is one of promise and possibility on your journey! You can find her at

Best Graduation Gift Books

Best Graduation Gift Books

Best Graduation Gift Books


Giving a graduate a gift book makes an inspiring and excellent present especially if you give the right book. Fun to read, practical books are the best graduation gift books. If it looks boring or irrelevant to the graduate, it will gather dust. I have listed several best graduation gift books below that are sure to resonate with your graduate.

For more graduation gift ideas:

More than 100 Graduation Gift Ideas

Bible Verses for High School Graduates

10 best gift books for graduation

Best Graduation Gift Books 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  


By: Sheridan Scott

The book offers advice from many different perspectives. There is someone in this book to which every college freshman and parent can relate. Some of the chapters are skim-worthy and some are highlight-almost-every-line-worthy. One of the best chapters is written by a film school student in Los Angeles. He has some of the most unconventional, but yet REAL advice: “Don’t bring your autographed picture of Darth Vader to the dorm, and do eat your veggies; don’t grow a beard, and do realize that though the college years are great, your best years are yet to come.” While his morals are a little looser than I would prefer, he has arrived at this enlightened realization, “come to terms with the fact that you’re not going to find lasting romance drunk in someone’s yard off-campus.” His chapter is a MUST READ!

Cover of book: "The Naked Roommate"


By: Harlan Cohen

I first heard about this book at my oldest son’s college orientation. One of the deans held up the For Parents Only version of The Naked Roommate and insisted we all needed a copy. It is a fun book with a fun title that will entice the recipient to actually open it up and read it. The advice is practical and realistic. It covers topics like the summer before college, move-in day, roommates,  Greek life, dating, drugs and alcohol, safety, health, and academics.

College Student Health Handbook


By: Jill Grimes, MD

The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook falls in the practical category. It is written in a conversational-style, that is never condescending. This book and a DIY First Aid Kit will be both read and used. Dr. Grimes covers all sorts of college health issues and gives advice they can use in an emergency – like how to help a friend who has passed out from overindulging. She talks about every day issues like test anxiety, home sickness, the freshman fifteen, “something’s stuck in my eye,” as well as more serious issues like date rape, birth control pills, and “Is my stomach pain an appendicitis?” (We have been there on the appendicitis! See What To Do If  Your College Student Has a Medical Emergency for our experience and some advice.)

Dr. Grimes has two daughters who are in college and also works at the University of Texas at Austin, so she knows how to talk to and relate to college students and also the common medical concerns of college kids.

Steadfast by Tabitha Allman


By: Tabitha Allman

As a recent college graduate Tabitha Allman knows what it is like in college. She also knows that attending a Christian college does not shield young women from the realities of the world. She discusses how to handle homesicknesses, stress, feeling different and fitting in, helping a roommate who is having problems, setting appropriate boundaries, and dating. And she knows that dating on a Christian campus is a whole other thing than on most campuses because of the pressure to find a mate. She jokes about how the “walk of shame” on a Christian campus is graduating without an engagement ring. This book is perfect for any of the graduates in your life who are attending a Christian college or any college.


By Becky Blades

Ok, I LOVE this book. It is funny. It is pithy. It is practical. It is short. And it will be read. It contains 271 gems including #146: “Offer your seat to anyone older or less healthy than you. And occasionally to someone who made an inappropriate shoe choice” and #19: “Never put anything on the internet that you would not want to discuss in a job interview, on a first date, or with your mother.” She includes many encouragements to be kind to others, to cut them some slack, and how to truly make others feel good.

knock by rebecca otis leder


By: Rebecca Otis Leder

As a blogger I related to Rebecca’s opening concerning people who reach out without any thought or care put into their pitch. I receive emails from people who want me to add links or feature them without it being apparent they know anything about who I write for or the type of posts I create. Their pitches are completely impersonal and go straight to my “junk” folder.

College students and those who will need to network in their career need this book. Knock gives the why and how to building actual meaningful relationships. We all need help from those who have already gone down our path, but sending out impersonal emails or asking to pick someone’s brain over coffee is not the way to receive help or to offer anything to the potential mentor in return. This book offers a practical and step by step approach that will be appreciated by college students as they seek career guidance, internships, and jobs.

A Few More Best Graduation Gift Books:

Here are a few more best graduation gift books. I have not read these, but they are highly rated and look like fun books to give or receive! I definitely think I need the Barbara Bush Pearls of Wisdom book!

Barbara Bush Pearls of Wisdom
If God gave your graduation speech
175 Things to do before you graduate college
graduation gifts under $10

I hope you love these Best Graduation Gift Books. They will be sure to bless the graduates in your life. I would love to know your favorite graduation gift books. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Why have a graduation brunch? When we were planning a party for my daughter and her friend we realized the kids literally had parties scheduled all day long and evening for several weekends and days in a row. You need to coordinate all of these events so that they do not overlap (or don’t overlap by much). A graduation brunch is a great idea because there are usually fewer graduates vying for this time. A brunch also gives opportunities for many fun graduation brunch menu ideas!

Read on for Graduation Brunch Ideas!

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

minted graduation party invitation


The first thing you will need for a graduation brunch is invitations. These amazing invitations are from Minted. If you are giving a party for more than one graduate, have a picture taken of the honorees before creating the invitations or use a picture of them from their high school years.


clear frame with picture of girl on table at graduation brunch


We rented bistro tables for the kids to stand at while they ate their food. Use simple table decorations that do not take up the whole table. We chose pictures of the graduate in acrylic frames surrounded by confetti. Confetti is inexpensive and the frames can be reused. You can get a set of 5 acrylic frames for $39.95 on Amazon.

mother daughter in front of picture backdrop at graduation brunch


One of the best graduation brunch ideas is to have a fun photo backdrop. We ordered this beautiful backdrop on Etsy. You can find any style you would like and have it customized here. And yes, my daughter is really that much taller than I am!

graduation brunch buffet


The honorees celebrated their new schools with donuts decorated in the school colors – green and yellow for Baylor and red and white for Oklahoma. These were a HUGE hit. A friend of ours made the donut board, which we have loaned out on several occasions. If you live in Tulsa, feel free to come and borrow it 😉

We also had a virgin mimosa bar. Make cute tags and tie them on with twine. Our bottles came from Target, but you can order these pretty bottles on Amazon.

graduation brunch buffet


Fruit, breakfast burritos, pigs in a blanket, and mini yogurt cups and granola and other toppings rounded out the menu. We ordered the cute little yougurt cups from Amazon. 

jar with notes from attendees at a graduation brunch


We set out a jar and paper for the kids to write notes to the graduates. Also do not forget a gift table!!

corn hole game


Corn hole in the back yard was also a hit. We ordered corn hole bean bags in the girls’ school colors.

A Graduation Brunch can be a wonderful solution to overlapping parties and other graduation festivities. I hope these Graduation Brunch Ideas help you in your planning. Be sure to savor the day and take lots of pictures!!

Join the Community

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More from Almost Empty Nest:

Ultimate Graduation gift Guide
Gifts under $10
dorm room ideas
Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students: Over 30 Ideas for Productivity and Earnings

Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students: Over 30 Ideas for Productivity and Earnings

Summer Job Ideas and other Opportunities for Teens and College Students

Every parent’s favorite summer activity for their teen or college student is a J-O-B. Nothing like getting them into the real world, collecting a pay check and having taxes deducted from it to help them see the value of their education. A  summer job doing anything whether it is hauling trash, answering phones, entering data, or taking orders at the Burger Barn is a worthwhile experience. It teaches responsibility and gives them references and experience for their future endeavors. Here are some Summer Job Ideas and Other Opportunities for Teens and College Students.

The summer of 2021 should have more opportunities than 2020 but it is still uncertain. Some businesses are slowly coming back to life and may not be hiring as much as they did in the past. Others may be coming back with gusto. Pools, water parks, tourism, and anything seasonal should be good opportunities. After a school year of online education, your teen is ready to leave the house!

Summer Job Ideas and Other Opportunities for Teens and College Students

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Try Self Employment:

Self Employment is one of the best summer job ideas. Any skill can be marketed to neighbors, friends, and friends’ Facebook contacts.

  • Babysitting: Moms and dads may still be working from home and desperately need someone to care for their children, take them to the pool, play with them, and get them out of the house.
  • Lawn mowing: It’s outside and is naturally “socially distanced.”
  • Other yard work
  • Tutoring: Online or in small group settings. If they have an area of expertise, advertise it. Many kids are behind because of online school. Being willing to work with kids, teens, and college students to get their knowledge of a subject ready to go back in the fall of 2021 will be invaluable.
  • Computer or other technical skills (One of my sons spent a summer transferring friends’ old VHS recordings into digital formats. He has now branched into video production, including weddings and promotional videos.)
  • House sitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Providing rides for kids to lessons, camps, the pool, etc. for occupied parents


Look into the “Gig Economy”:

  • Grub Hub, Uber, and other delivery and service jobs are good summer job ideas for those who meet the age and other requirements.

Take Classes for Employable Skills:

Online Jobs or “Microjobs”

Online jobs and “Microjobs” are a way to earn a small amount of money or miles or gift cards. They will not make them wealthy, but can give your student something productive to do while binging on “Friends.”

  • Usertesting: Members evaluate websites and receive $10 per site evaluated. I have had my website evaluated several times by usertesting.
  • Survey Police: Listings of survey sites you can join to earn money and other benefits. The site also gives the scoop on each site. Some are not worth your time.
  • Panel Place: A survey site that links you to reliable survey companies.
  • Ibotta: Go through your groceries and take pictures of the bar codes of featured products and the corresponding receipts to earn money towards gift cards. I have an account with ibotta. I don’t use it as much as I should, but I did earn a $25 Amazon gift card in the last 6 months. If you use my link to join, you will receive $10 in your account and I will receive $5 in mine.

Hire your student:

  • Here is an interesting summer job idea! Give your teen or college student a household responsibility, such as the yard, the laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, and pay them to do it.

Apply for scholarships:

Take Summer School:

  • Knock out a high school or college graduation requirement. My daughter knocked out 9 hours online last summer.


  • Even if they have a job, send them to a hospital, a church, or anywhere that won’t consider it trespassing if your kid hangs around trying to be helpful. Consistent volunteer work is a great college application and resume booster. Organized volunteering in a group setting may still not be available this year. Your student can create their own opportunities by making cards and dropping them off at nursing homes and doing other individual service projects.

Summer Internships:

  • For your college kids, summer internships in their chosen field are a must. If you have a connection in that field, then it is not too late to ask if your college student could intern with them for a week or more this summer. If they cannot find anything, go to summer school to free up space in their schedule later when internships are available.
  • Most internships are applied for and accepted during the spring, so if one is not available this summer, time spent researching what internships would be possible for the next summer and the application process will pay off.
  • Ask to interview someone in a field of interest about their education and experiences. If a real live human is not available, listen to podcasts or read blogs about the profession.

Read “7 Musts Before Senior Year“:

Plan for College

Attend Camp:
  • Fun, sun, bonding, getting along with others, new skills and adventures. I’ve never heard of a camp that allows the kids to stay up all night, sleep all day, and make a mess of their cabin, so even though their duffle and clothes will be full of dirt, they will have an intact sleep/wake cycle when they return.

Attend Specialized Camps and Classes

  • There are camps and classes for everything: badminton, musical theater, cheerleading, sewing, cooking, tennis, creative writing. Don’t miss the opportunity to improve a skill or acquire a new one. 

Test Prep:

Special Projects:

Do you have projects you are “going to get to someday?” Hire your son or daughter to do one. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Organize photos
  • Scan photos
  • Video your house as a home inventory for insurance purposes.
  • Clean out the garage.
  • Clean out a closet.
  • Hold a garage sale with the items they have cleaned out and allow them to keep all or a percentage of the profits.

Bucket List:

List their textbooks:

  • Get last semester’s textbooks listed on Amazon. Sell them, mail them, collect the money.

Sell Digital Photos:

Start a blog:

  • Blogs give you a forum for your thoughts, teach you to create a website. (i.e. marketable skill), and sometimes make a little money. To begin you will need a host server and domain name. I use Siteground as my server and WordPress to build my site. WordPress is free. I have a custom theme called “Divi” that I purchased from Elegant Themes. I share more about blogging in this post.

Get ready for the next school year:

  • Read the assigned summer book or books.
  • Clean out backpacks.
  • Clean out dorm stuff and pack up for the next year.


While a job working for someone else is the first choice of most parents for their teen or college student, sometimes that does not work out. But, there are still plenty of ways to make productive use of time and even earn money during the summer. They can free-lance their skills and time, prepare for standardized tests (which can mean money later on), take classes, volunteer, work online, and many other possibilities. Tell me your summer job ideas in the comments below.


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