Thanksgiving Break is just around the corner, and the freshman you dropped off at college a few months ago is coming home. It’s the first big holiday, and you couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be amazing, and everything will be exactly like it was before your son or daughter went to college, right?
Probably not. For the past few months, your child has been making his or her decisions about, well, everything. He or she has gained a taste of independence and that may lead to some tension when a long vacation rolls around.
So, how can you make sure your Thanksgiving holiday is a success? Here are a few tips.
- Give your child a little space. If you haven’t gotten to see your child for a while, the temptation to spend every waking moment with him or her will be strong. Resist! That expectation puts a lot of pressure on your student. Plus, he or she will likely need a little time to decompress, hang out with friends or sleep.
- Make some of your student’s favorite foods. Does he have a favorite meal? Is there a local restaurant she loves? Some of the things your child probably misses most are home cooked meals or favorite foods they can’t get while they’re away. Plan to make (or order) a few of your child’s favorites while he or she is at home.
- Don’t expect everything to be the same as before your child left. Your child has probably gained some maturity in those months away from home. Don’t return to old patterns of reminding your children to do chores like you did when they lived at home. Trust and expect your students to exercise some of the newfound independence they’ve experienced at college. (This means it’s perfectly fine to expect your student to do his or her own laundry.)
- Understand that every child is different. Some students may be excited to head back to college after a week or so at home, but don’t let that hurt your feelings. Be happy that your child is adjusting well to college life and greater independence. Other students may be homesick and not want to return to college after an extended visit. Acknowledge their feelings, but also point out that the semester is almost over. Sometimes, those few weeks between Thanksgiving and the semester break are the turning point when students really acclimate to and adjust to living away from home.