I’ll just come right out and say it. Either you are overjoyed that your college kid is home and it’s all rainbows and butterflies or you’re upping your anxiety meds to deal with the unknown. Either way, I have the answers. I am a pro at college kids now. (Not true. No one is.)
I’m going to give you some tips on getting through the summer with your college kids that will help you not to kill each other or ruin your relationships. But you’re going to have to trust me on this.
- Take a deep breath. Learn Yoga and mediation. If you’re a drinker, stock up! Either way remember you are not alone. This migration from college to home life is happening everywhere. There are support groups too. And if any parent says the transition is easy and they aren’t having any issues, they are LYING.
- Establish some rules. Yes they have done everything they wanted in college with no adult supervision, but while they are in your house it is still your rules. If they get sassy, threaten to stop paying their cellphone bill. They need a curfew (this is really for your peace of mind) an Uber or Lyft app (Face it, you would rather them to be smart than drive home after a drink and guess what parents, they are probably going to drink.) Also, make them get a job.
- Now the rules are in place, tell them what you expect. Remind them their bedroom is not a dorm room. They have to keep it somewhat decent or roaches WILL appear. Bathrooms must at least have a path from the toilet to the sink. And they need to do their own laundry. You are no longer required to give them anything except a roof over their heads and food. (That they can cook and clean up after unless they choose to eat WITH you)
- Make sure they know to keep up with emails from college. These can be important and if they miss one it could mean they lose a class or didn’t sign up correctly for next fall’s meal plan. And you know they hate email. So this has to be a reminder or you will see the toddler meltdowns reoccur.
- Let them spend a few days adjusting to home life from school life. This means changing their eating and sleeping habits. No more day sleeping and eating in the middle of the night. They do need time to process this and you may see withdrawal symptoms. Hang in there!
- Include them in family time. Have a movie night, dinner out, mini-golf. etc. This won’t happen often but you need to enforce it a few times to remind them of how families work.
- Enjoy them being home. Tell them you love them. Tell them you are proud of how far they have come. Keep communication open. It’s key!
- Finally, start packing up boxes and suitcases little by little so that by the time they are heading back to school it won’t be such a dramatic filled event. It will help in their transition back to college. Wave goodbye and get back to enjoying the empty nest life! Because in 9 months, they will be back again!
Here’s my kid who came home from his first year of college on crutches. His friend came to visit with her arm in a sling. Make sure your kids know where Student Health Services, Urgent Care and the local hospital is located!
BONUS: to help keep your college kid organized while at home, consider something like this from my Amazon Storefront: