All of us look forward to the day that our students come home for the summer! They arrive having had new experiences and having made new friends. They have adopted new schedules and habits.
They have become independent and have learned how to work out problems on their own. They have maybe even learned how to do laundry!
We were able to sit down with a few upperclassmen students last week right before finals and ask them a question: What advice would you give to a parent whose student is returning for the summer?
Here are a few of their responses:
1. “We may need to take a break when we arrive home.”
While many students need/want to get a summer job, they may need to take a couple of days or a week off when they arrive home. The last few weeks of classes are filled with tests, quizzes, finals, projects and papers. Your student may have even stayed up all a night a couple of times to meet deadlines.
2. “Be careful to not plan too many activities right after they return.”
Your student may need time to decompress. This time might look different for different students. Some students might want to talk about every detail. Some might want to cry. Sleep may be the only thing that they want to do for a few days.
3. “Curfew is no longer a thing.”
This can be a tricky subject when your student first arrives home. After the first semester on campus, your student did not have a curfew. We expect our students to make wise choices about their sleep habits and therefore, do not set up a curfew. On one hand, your student is under your roof and should abide by your rules. On the other hand, your student has had a lot of independence and may resist returning to a schedule that they had as a high school student.
4. “Embrace your student’s newfound independence.”
College transition is tough. One student talked about her laundry situation. She said that the first summer she went home her mom started doing all her laundry. While she had been at IWU she had kept up on her laundry and found that she actually enjoyed the way that she did it. This was a difficult conversation for her to have with her mom, but it worked out well for both of them. (In reality, this mom probably celebrated.)
Communication is key to this transition!
- Talk to your student about your schedule and their schedule.
- Talk to your student about “chores” that you expect them to do over the summer.
- Talk to your student about your expectations regarding summer work.
- Talk to your student about what you do and do not plan to “do” for them (laundry, dishes, cleaning their room)
Lastly, enjoy this time! Grab a cup of coffee with your student (they will probably be missing McConn)! Your student might be used to staying up later than usual. Stay up and have those late night conversations.
Already worried about leaving your student at IWU in the fall? Click here to see our most helpful tips.