Part II: College Breaks Nov14

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Part II: College Breaks

In your excitement to have your kid home for the holidays, you may not have given any thought to what will be different when they return. Will the old house rules from when they were in high school still apply? Chances are, your college kid – having just experienced an intense period of unfettered freedom — expects they won’t. 

Here are some things to think about and discuss as a family in advance of your kids coming home from college. And when they get home, involve them in the conversation so they have some input into some of the new rules.

Curfews: Your college kid is not used to having a curfew at college but now that they are back in your house, is imposing one fair? You may not worry at all when they are away at college, but now that they are back under your roof, you may not be able to sleep at night until you know they are home. So how are you going to give them the freedom they need and not become sleep-deprived and a raving lunatic yourself? Some parents ask for a simple text or phone call to let them know when they might be home or if their plans change. Others insist on a set time so as not to disrupt the sleep of other family members.

Laundry:  Your college kid has been doing their own laundry for the past few months and certainly can continue doing so at home. On the other hand, some parents find it quite satisfying to give their kids a break from doing the wash and like to do it for them during breaks.

Meals: While you may think of mealtimes as a great way to socially interact with your college kid while home on break, remember your kid is probably used to grabbing food between classes, or meeting up with friends for a meal at the last minute. Still, many kids look forward to a home-cooked meal after eating all that lovely dorm food, so seize the opportunity to cook up their favorites, and schedule some times they are willing to commit to a few family meals. You might also have them invite one or two friends to dinner – that is a sure way to know they will show up, and a great time to see the old high school friends you’ve no doubt missed as well. And nothing says you have to slave away in the kitchen yourself — cook together, order take-out or go out to a restaurant.

Boyfriends/Girlfriends: This one could really test your parenting skills. If your college kid has had a boyfriend or girlfriend stay overnight with them at college, and they will be seeing each other while home for break, they may simply assume that they can spend the night together at home. They are adults, after all, right? This definitely requires discussion and any decisions about sleeping arrangements must be based on what your family is comfortable with. Remember, you are still the parent, it is still your home, and you get to make the rules. How those rules apply to your adult college kid who is home for a visit is a very personal decision.

Something else to be aware of: High school relationships are lasting longer than they did a decade ago, mostly due to the advent of technology that allows kids to stay in constant contact with one another. However, the challenges of sustaining a relationship long-distance during college often takes its toll and many kids break up over Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Be sensitive to the fact that your kid may be working through some challenges in the love department while home on break.

You’re no doubt excited about having your college kid back home and are looking forward to ‘babying’ them a little. Go for it! Just know that they are changing in so many great ways and becoming independent adults. The old rules and boundaries may need a little re-visiting. So get ready ‘cuz here they come! Spruce up the place, bake their favorite pie, and get ready for a wonderful homecoming.

P.S.  What if they don’t want to come home for college break?  Check out this article: My Student Doesn’t Want to Come Home From College by Kelci Lucier

Want to Know More?

These books are great resources for navigating the college years and all touch the subject of kids home on break.


See related post, Part I – College Breaks: They’re Back! 

And see our video of college kids talking about what it was really like the first time they came home on break: Home on Breaks


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