Your student is finishing up their first year of college! They made the successful transition from high school to college – a big step. And during this first year, your student had lots of freedom, gaining independence and taking on more responsibility from living on their own. If your student lived at college, the transition back home for summer break may be a bit challenging. How will you adjust to having them back in the house and how will they spend all of their free time?
As a parent, try to strike a healthy balance with your student as they return home. On one hand, you want to honor their growing maturity by allowing more freedoms than when they were high school students. On the other hand, they will need to honor your house rules. Compromise will be key.
While you will expect your student to follow the rules of your household, it may be time to alter those rules so they align more closely with the college student experience and emerging adulthood. Have a conversation with your student about this. And rather than leading that conversation, give your student a more active role in setting expectations.
Summer break is also a good time for many college students to take on additional responsibilities by gaining experience at an internship or a job. Their college’s career center may be able to help them learn about internship opportunities, so encourage your student to make an appointment with the career center staff prior to leaving campus for the summer. While some academic internships are unpaid, having an internship is an important component for building a resume. First-year students still have plenty of time to take on internships in future breaks, though, so if it doesn’t work out this summer, not to worry.
This time of the year is also optimal for college students to earn money to pay some of their own expenses next year. Many summer jobs for young people can get snapped up quickly, so it’ll be important for your student to look for a position as soon as possible upon arriving home. Even jobs that aren’t considered internships can be valuable learning experiences for college students, in addition to providing some cash.
As parents, we look forward to having our young adults home again after a long academic year away at college. Be ready to realign your house rules and encourage your student to take on additional responsibilities in an effort to make the most of their time off.