Living with Your College Student During Winter Break

An EWU Student's Perspective

December 8, 2022

As winter break is slowly approaching, college students begin coming back home for the Winter break. Let’s acknowledge the challenge some families face during this time, and the adjusting both parents and students might have living with each other again.

As some families know, when your student is away from home during college they are on their own and experiencing independence. They have learned to live on their own and do things their own way. When it comes to independence, it can be a power struggle between parents and students trying to find a balance between respecting each other’s boundaries and allowing their students to have the same freedom they had back at college. Let us admit although winter break is only one month of being back home, everyone should be able to feel comfortable under the same roof. 

Living with your college students during break should be fun, relaxing and focused on creating memories rather than feeling like everyone is walking on eggshells around each other. Here are some tips for living with your college student over winter break and some conversations before they come back home.

  • Ask how they are really doing? And how did classes go?
  • Discuss whether there will be chores such as cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, and cleaning the kitchen or responsibilities such as picking up their siblings, running to the grocery stores or other duties.
  • Discuss whether there will be a curfew or other time-specific rules to follow
  • Discuss independency, whether that means doing their own laundry or cooking their own food.

This can be tough transition between college students and parents, both parties need to realize that independence is an important thing to develop but also realize that there are boundaries both ways. Here are some reminders for you to remember when having this conversation with your student:

  • Allow for an open-ended and fair relationship so your child can feel the need to come and talk to you if something is not working out with the dynamic of being back home. 
  • Make sure as parents that you set clear expectations up front. Be supportive, but also allow space for your child to grow and try not to revert to being a caretaker. 

We understand that these conversations can be difficult to have, however sitting down and having this conversation earlier rather than later can allow for winter break to go smoothly. Also, having this conversation earlier on can prevent any misunderstanding later down the road. It is important that everyone hears each other out and respects each other while coming to a fair agreement. We hope this helps those who may have some concerns when it comes to your student transitioning back home.