Back Home: Easing the Transition for Your College Student
May 11, 2020 | by amanda ryan
While it’s exciting to have your college kid home for the summer months (and then some, as college students were asked to vacate their dorms early due to COVID-19 concerns), it doesn’t come without adjustments – for both of you.
For starters, your “kid” is not so much a kid anymore and they’ve been running their own schedule for months now. And the way you do things in your home might not be how things ran in their dorm or apartment. Trying to mesh two very different lifestyles together can be a challenge.
Challenge or no, there’s something spectacular about having your whole brood back under your roof again and with a bit of forethought, planning, flexibility and grace, cohabitating with your young adult can be the gift you’ve been dreaming of.
Here are some tips for easing the transition for you and your college-aged kid this summer…
1. Find Ways to Compromise
We know, we know, you may be thinking:
“Why should I have to compromise, I pay the bills here!”
While this is a valid point, it’s important to remember that your college kid has been essentially forced out of their own space. While they may have been home for the summer anyway, their summer break at your home has been extended. Plus, they aren’t able to leave to do the things they may have if we weren’t in quarantine.
So, try to come from a place of compassion and understanding as you create a plan of compromise. For example, if your child does the dishes once per week and you do yours every day, consider compromising with 2-3 times per week.
Or, if your kid likes to play the guitar late into the night, allow them to play the guitar, but have a cut-off time that’s fair. And once restrictions are lifted and they can go out into the world, conversate and compromise – remember they’re coming from months of making their own schedule. That said, it’s important to let you know where they’re going and when they’ll be home and communicating if they’re going to be later than expected. It’s all a matter of respect.
2. Create a Plan
When you know that your college kid is coming back home for a few months, it’s important to have a plan of action.
Instead of just throwing a bunch of chores and rules at them, sit down with them and have a conversation about what is expected of them as a member of the family and household. For example, create a chore list for each day of the week that you’d like them to do to contribute.
Or, refresh them on the rules of the house (no loud music after 10 PM, no shoes on the carpet, limit on data with streaming services, etc.).
3. Practice Patience
This is important for both sides.
When you get accustomed to living a certain way, it’s hard to change to fit someone else’s lifestyle. This will apply to both you and your college kid, as you both now have different homes for most of the year.
As they adjust to being back home, try to be patient with them as they fall out of their old habits and start to adjust to your household rules a little more. They may not be ignoring them on purpose.
Remind your college kid that you may need a little patience as well. It’s easy for us to feel defensive when we feel like our way of life is challenged. So, ask them to remind you if you’re being a little bit nit-picky about the rules. This way a constructive conversation can come out of the situation.
You’ll Get Through It
While it may feel like you’re butting heads with your college kid, it will just take some time to adjust to each other’s company.
Remembering to respect each other’s lifestyles as well as communicate for a middle ground is important for keeping the peace. You’ve got this!
Amanda Ryan is a freelance writer specializing in child and family content. Within this content area she has about 5 years of experience. Her love for learning about family life led to earning a bachelor’s degree in child and family development from Western Michigan University. She loves to research and write about the things that can help make parenting a little easier!