Surviving the Holiday Break: Tips for College Students and Families

Well, the end of the year is almost here! The end of a long semester – for both you and your student, as you have navigated many experiences. Right about now, your student is most likely spending long hours completing group projects, submitting papers, and preparing for finals. As a parent/family member, you want to check in on your student and see what kind of support they need.

The holiday break is usually the first extended period during which families spend more time together since saying goodbye to their student at their residential hall. Although the holiday season has many joyous occasions, there are sometimes feelings of stress and anxiety for students and their families. Below are some tips to help make the holidays brighter:

  • Parents and family members might envision different ideas of what will take place over the break. Parents often envision their student spending significant amounts of time with the family, while students may have plans to work, relax, or keep their mind off school. Students can find time for catching up with old friends and devoting time to family. Parents and students should communicate before break about what the break will look like.
  • Your student will need a break from the stress of the semester. Remember to give your student a little space at first. Although most parents check in on students throughout the semester, this can be a time to spend more in-depth time communicating about how their college experience is going so far and reflecting on what can be better for next semester. This will also be a good time to talk to your student about how they did in their classes. If they did not do so well in a class, help them understand that failure is normal and part of the process of growing. Start by getting them to change the question from “How come I’m failing?” to “How do I learn to fail forward?” Everybody faces failures – you can even share some of your own. If there are wins to celebrate as well, congratulate your student and highlight their successes!
  • Communicate about important deadlines such as registration and financial aid as the holiday break starts. It is a good idea to keep close tabs on class registration, as students want the most suitable schedule for them next semester.
  • A common area of conflict is parents’ reluctance to see their student as an adult who has been living on their own. It may be difficult to transition back to house rules after enjoying the freedom of college life. Try to negotiate a new set of house rules, remembering that both sides will have to give a little to make sure to enjoy a smooth holiday break!
  • Support one another throughout the holiday break. The balance and patterns may or may not be quite the same; so, finding some time to discuss those can bring more relaxation in the home.
  • Most importantly: Enjoy spending time with family and friends over the holidays! Make time to rest and relax. As a parent/family member, you also made it through the semester while supporting your student! Indulge in some delicious treats and enjoy your time together!

Holiday Gift Guide

We’re pleased to share some holiday gift ideas for your college student! CollegiateParent’s holiday shopping list is full of awesome ideas that are on trend with what students desire this gift-giving season. From practical to whimsical, CollegiateParent’s guide makes holiday shopping easier – leaving you more time to spend with your student.