Home Sweet Home: Four Tips To Ease Your Students Transition
When students return home for the holidays or the summer, it can be both an exciting and sometimes bumpy reentry. Here are some suggestions to help navigate the bumps and have a smoother break together.
Talk about the hotspots right away
The biggest trouble spot usually centers on how your student spends their time at home (e.g. sleep schedule, coming and going from the home, household responsibilities, finances, alcohol and other drug use, sexual and other risk taking behaviors, family gatherings). Before your student returns home, consider what clear, specific expectations are most important to you. Ask your student to think about the same. Then upon their return, discuss together each of your desires and expectations. Work to settle on some common ground. Clear, reciprocal communication and mutual understanding and agreement is crucial to a peaceful and enjoyable stay.
Consider what areas you can be more flexible about and which areas you must maintain. Your student will appreciate your flexibility and your consideration of their growth and change and will likely respond flexibly as well.
Building a different relationship
Time has passed. Students and family members have changed in some major ways. Recognize and openly share the positive ways in which you see your student has developed. Students often act like family opinions are unimportant but your affirmation of their growth is more vital to them than they might let on.
Give space and also plan for time together
Give your student space. College students will continue to foster their own lives separate from family even when home. In turn, also savor the time with your students. Plan ahead for times that they can commit to spend with you and the family. Both space and time with family are important and necessary.
Use additional supports
The break is a time for students to slow down and for everyone to take stock of their lives together and apart. If students are struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship, academic, or social challenges, encourage them to contact University and/or community resources for support. For instance, other than the week between Christmas and New Year’s, our Counseling Center is open over the summer and other vacations.