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Easing the Transition over the Christmas Break

At the beginning of each school year, much of your attention goes towards helping your students transition to the newness in their lives, whether they are a freshman acclimating to a new home or a senior preparing for the last year in college. Now the focus shifts to a different transition — the transition from college back to life at home during the Christmas break.

To help ensure a smooth transition and a happy holiday season, anticipate changes. Understand both your and your student's expectations and prepare for your student's arrival home. Give your student time to ease back into family life. Communication can smooth this transition. You can avoid many problems or potential situations if you discuss them from the beginning. Talk to your student about your expectations, and make sure to ask about theirs, too.

Questions to consider include:

Once your student is home, ask how finals went and if your student feels exhausted or burnt out by the added stress of the end of the semester. Instead of coming home excited and full of energy, students might just want to come home and catch up on lost sleep. If so, give them time to rest, get acclimated and decompress.

Time, and lack of it, typically becomes an issue during school breaks. If this is the first visit back home for a significant period of time, your student might want to get in touch with old friends. To ensure that you get your share of time with your student, schedule time with them throughout the break. Make sure your student knows dates for traditional family holiday functions. Also consider planning activities and get-togethers that everyone in your family and your student's friends can enjoy together.

Curfews become a common issue upon students' return from college. Students will argue that they stayed out as late as they wanted at school. One way around this argument is to ask your student what time they expect to be home and to call or text if they will not make it home by the time indicated. This plan removes the rule, but still allows you to be informed about your student's whereabouts and safety.

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