Here are a few tips for surviving the invasion:
- Create Structure: Your college student will be tempted to just hang out and wind down from the school year, but summers need to be productive, with an eye towards resume-building, so a summer job, or internship, whether paid or not, is the best choice. Plus, with some structure in your college student’s life, you will feel less overwhelmed by their invading the quiet you are used to.
- Sleep Patterns: It is a good idea to have a discussion about sleep patterns as soon as your college student arrives home. There is nothing wrong with allowing a week or two of downtime, but once your college student has a daily routine, it is time to agree on times for going out and coming in. Discuss having a few days a week when your college student stays home, goes to bed by midnight, and gets up for a family breakfast. If the student is trying to juggle work or an internship, the typical college student schedule of going out late at night and sleeping to noon will not work well.
- The Car: If you will be sharing a car with your college student, have the conversation about responsibilities early on. Who pays for gas? Should you have a shared gas card? Who is responsible for maintenance? Who needs the car when?
- Laundry, Food, Chores, and the List goes on… Communication is key. Remember your college student has been living independently, and has, most likely and hopefully, matured. What you see at home now may be very different from what you have seen in the past. By sitting down and setting out expectations and negotiating responsibilities, there won’t be any surprises, and that will lower the chance of conflict.
- Patience is a Virtue: Be patient while you all negotiate this new dance. With open communication, some negotiation, and trust that you have raised a responsible human, your summer can be one of new discoveries about your college student and an appreciation for their adult perspective!
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Anne Macleod Weeks is a graduate of Lawrence and Villanova Universities. She has been an educational administrator and English teacher for 38 years, specializing in the area of college admission. Ms. Weeks has been a leader in the college admission and Advanced Placement arenas and has published on pertinent educational topics in a variety of national papers and journals. She currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada.