Winter break can be stressful as college students look forward to going home for the holidays. There are travel plans to be made and a home to be decorated, but even with everything that is going on it can be relaxing and enjoyable if you follow a few simple suggestions for relieving some of the holiday stress.
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1. Have Realistic Expectations
It’s tempting to want to make a big breakfast with the whole family the first day your student is home for the holidays, but it’s important to realize that they’ve been under a lot of pressure and probably spent some sleepless nights studying. Their bodies are playing catch up from the last few weeks of testing, so start your family activities off slowly.
2. Set Flexible Boundaries
Our children are used to boundaries and limits placed on their behavior. Once they’re adults you can be more flexible and allow them to make decisions and choices for themselves. Decide what things you are willing to live with and which ones are unacceptable, then sit down when they come home for the holidays and let them work out some new rules with you.
3. Give Them Space
Although parents are happy to have their child home, it’s unrealistic to expect them to spend all their break time with the family. They’ll want to reconnect with friends from high school and make plans to get together while they’re all home for the holidays.
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4. Let Them Help
One great activity for family bonding is preparing food together. Make it a rule that everybody pitches in and helps make the holiday dinner to take the stress off of you. This is a natural setting for talking and finding out what’s been going on in their lives in a relaxed and non-confrontational atmosphere.
5. Plan Some One-on-One Time
To ensure that you have some quality time to spend with your student when they return home for the holidays, schedule a special day out or a trip somewhere for just the two or three of you. This allows them plenty of time to do what they want, visit with friends, and still have time to spend with mom and dad.
6. Don’t Neglect Others
While the holidays are a festive time of year, it’s possible for some family members to feel left out or neglected. Make sure you talk with your spouse or other children about the time you want to spend with your college student and invite them to join in, or schedule time alone with them as well.
7. Plan Ahead
It definitely helps things go smoothly if you plan in advance. Being organized helps tame the holiday chaos and will give you peace of mind that things are under control.
8. Let it Go
Realize that some things ARE beyond your control and relax. As long as the important things get done, it’s okay to let some things slide until after the holidays.
[Read more great tips on navigating holiday breaks with college students.]
This holiday season, spend time enjoying and appreciating your family and all the blessings they bring. Rather than worrying about all there is to do, relax and enjoy the time with your adult child and make happy memories they can carry with them when they go back to school.