Community//

They’re Home! 5 Tips For Parents of College Students Returning Home For The Holidays

It's that time! Your college student is headed home for a holiday break. Are you ready? Here are 5 Tips For Parents of College Students Returning Home For The Holidays.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!
College Students

The first-year college student you dropped off on campus in August or September, is likely to be different from the one who will be coming home for the winter holidays:

Looking for some words of wisdom? How about starting here:

Communicate before they get home.

  1. Do not assume that they are coming home without plans. While many come back exhausted, stressed or simply wanting to sleep, some will want to reconnect with old or even new friends. Some may have projects to complete or exams to prepare for. Unless it was discussed beforehand, do not assume that their time home will be spent at home, or with just you and other family members.
  2.  Were there house rules before college? If so, you may need to revisit and/or revamp them. Curfew? What’s that? Can your student come and go as they please, or will you expect him or her to be in by a specific time? Remember, they have been away from you for a few months, developed a sense of independence, and have established their own schedules. Can friends (including the opposite sex) sleep over in your home? Is alcohol consumption allowed in the house? Be clear on your expectations, as your rules may now conflict with their new college socializing activities. 
  3.  Stock up on their favorite goodies and replenish any known supplies that they will need to take back to school. The less time spent shopping in crowded stores, the more time there will potentially be available for you and your student. 
  4.  Encourage conversation, but don’t be overly optimistic. You may be anxious to know every single detail about their college experience thus far, and at most, they may only want to share how much they hate the dining hall food, or how messy their roommate is. If there are specific things you want to learn about, i.e., grades, relationships, etc. be sure to have open-ended questions prepared in advance. If not, you may be the recipient of a ton of “yes” and “no’ responses from your darling. 
  5. Do not neglect your own self-care. Often because of lack of communication and occasionally lack of genuine planning, holiday time can quickly swing from what is supposed to be fun, family time, to countdown to “is it over yet?” Before you know it your student is headed back to campus and you are left in need of a hot bath and a glass of something strong- and I don’t mean coffee!

The first-semester home visit is an anticipated one. Parents are excited to see their offspring, and students are eager to sleep in their old bed, play with the dog, and eat some “real” food.

However, in order to make the most of the time together and minimize any drama, parents are encouraged to embrace their new reality. You are likely getting a glimpse of the new, maturing adult that you have raised, and not the little girl or boy that you may be anxious to hold on to.

Patience, reasonable expectations, and flashbacks to what your demeanor was like at this age (remember?) will help to create happy, holiday, new memories.

What additional suggestions would you like to share with other parents of a college student?

I welcome your feedback, and I am sure another parent will, as well.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Jasenka Arbanas/Getty Images
Thrive Global on Campus//

A Reminder During the Holiday Season

by Nishita Naga
Alex Geerts / Unsplash
Thrive Global on Campus//

Thanksgiving Break: Full of Emotions, Expectations, and Changes!

by Maureen Price Tillman
Westend61/Getty Images
Thrive Global on Campus//

5 Ways to Ensure a Proactive Winter Break

by Michael Nguyen

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.