Whether your student plans to visit home for a short stay or an extended amount of time, the summer months can be a great time to reconnect. Whether your student came home earlier than expected this year due to COVID-19 or they are just returning home, you may find that after some time away from home, they are now used to being on their own schedule and may have new habits and ways of operating in the world that differ from before. Here are a few things to keep in mind and tips for making the most of the summer with your student.
Reflect on the past year
Take time to get to know the independent person your student is becoming. Ask open-ended questions about their classes or major, their friends and social groups, what they like to do in their free time, etc. Help them reflect on their past year, and encourage them to think about what they would like to accomplish or do differently next year.
Make new memories
It’s a good idea to discuss any family plans your student, and ask what their plans are while they’re home to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Talk about how often you’d like to spend time together, or plan a regular family night with a favorite activity. Make sure to keep in mind social distancing in any planning and use this summer as an opportunity to spend quality time together doing activities closer to home, since travel plans may be altered this year.
Work through difficult conversations
Even when we have the best intentions, we can find ourselves in difficult conversations. Preparing for these interactions can help make a situation more productive and positive, and strengthen your relationship with your student - review these tips on how to have a difficult conversation.
Most people think conflict is a negative thing, but conflict is normal and can result in growth, learning and understanding. Here are some things you can do that lead to a healthy, positive experience if you encounter conflict with your student:
- In a conversation, allow your student to share their point of view without interrupting.
- What you mean to say is not always what the other person hears—think about the intent and impact of your message.
- When sharing your point of view, speak from your perspective. Try to see things from the other side rather than make assumptions.
- When agreement is not possible, allow for multiple truths.
Since your student has moved out, the expectations may not be clear when it comes to helping out with household responsibilities when they visit home. Discuss expectations when it comes to laundry, dishes and other household chores if your student is staying for an extended amount of time. If you want your student to stick to a curfew while they’re home, try to have a conversation before your student arrives.
Make a checklist
If possible, try to schedule any doctor, dentist or other appointments while your student is home so they won’t need to worry about it later on when they are back at school.