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School’s Out For Summer

by Tina M. Radcliffe
College Mom Tina Radcliffe, wrote this article for, it gives some great tips and advice about handling the transition of having a college freshman returning home for the summer break.

Spring break is over and final exam schedules are being posted. Signs of the end of another college year are everywhere.

Your college student is probably planning for a summer at home. If it’s your first summer with a college student in residence you both may be in for a few surprises. Be prepared. Christmas break and spring break were simple compared to the long days of summer.

Your expectations were probably low during the holidays, especially if your student attended college a long way from home. You missed them. So basically they rested, rejuvenated, socialized with old friends and prepared for another semester.

Summer is a whole different animal with varying expectations. Is your student a member of the family this summer or are they visiting royalty? It’s a good idea to make that decision well ahead of a summer headache.

A plan of action instead of reaction is the key to a successful summer. Have a strategic plan ready as you sit down with your student.

Topics to discuss:

  • Curfews. Are there curfews? Often curfews are intended not only as a restrictive element based on the maturity of the individual but they may be necessary to allow optimal health of the entire family. A family member stumbling in the house at three a.m. is often not indicative of a restful night sleep for anyone. A student not accustomed to curfews for many months will have issues. Discuss them thoroughly and come up with a compromise that works for everyone’s benefit.
  • Summer jobs and finances. Is your student expected to contribute to their school bills or their lifestyle needs? How much should be budgeted for summer fun and how much needs to be set aside for the upcoming school year? This is very important to discuss before your student announces they are taking a summer trip to the coast with their months of savings.
  • Household chores and family responsibility. Is your student expected to participate in family chores or assist with transporting siblings? If you have no expectations for participation in routine family schedules then a family member who comes in at four a.m. and sleeps until five p.m. may not be a problem. However, if you come home from work and are internalizing irritation at the sink full of dirty dishes and the overflowing trash, eventually that irritation is going to show and perhaps not in the most construction way for either you or your student.

Communication. What are reasonable and minimal communication expectations? Do you want to know where your family member is at all times? Is it necessary to know if they will be home for dinner? Do you expect a check in before you go to bed?

These may seem like oversimplifications; after all they just left for college a few months ago. They know the family rules and regulations. But after experiencing the sometimes complete freedom of college life, the homeland nest can be extremely suffocating.

Do yourself and your student a favor. Sit down to discuss the plans for summer. This will ensure you all have a satisfying and productive few months, and neither of you will be tersely counting down the days until college begins again.

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