Published: Dec. 8, 2022

winter breakIf your student is planning on visiting home over break, it can be a great time to catch up and reconnect. It’s important to remember that your student has likely become used to living independently and operating on their own schedule. They may have new habits or views that can influence your time together over break. Here are some things to keep in mind as your student prepares to transition home.

Learn about life at CU

Take time to get to know the independent person your student is becoming. Ask open-ended questions about their classes, major, what they enjoy about Boulder, what their friends are like and what they like to do in their free time. Keep in mind that some students may be struggling more than others. This can be a good time to determine whether or not your student could benefit from additional support at home or on campus. 

Talk about expectations at home

After living away from home for an extended period of time, students may not always know what is expected of them when they return home over break. Share your expectations with them around things like curfews, laundry, dishes and other household chores. 

It’s also a good idea to discuss any family plans you may have and ask your student what their plans are for their time at home. Discuss expectations around time together, time with friends and time alone. Remember that it’s okay if your student wants some time to themselves—they may need some time to decompress from a busy semester. 

Discuss changes that have taken place

Has a sibling moved into your student’s room? Is there a new pet in the family? Are there any other changes that may take your student by surprise? Help them adjust to being home by letting them know of any changes that may impact them before they arrive. 

Prepare for important conversations

When your student comes home from CU, there may be important conversations they need to have with you, especially if things have not been going well while they were away. Here are some things you can do to have effective conversations around potentially tough issues:

  • Allow your student to share their experience and point of view without interrupting. Try to listen openly without judgment. 

  • Think about the intent and the impact of your message—sometimes what you mean to say isn’t always what the other person hears. It’s important to ask for clarification throughout the conversation to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

  • If an agreement isn’t possible, allow for multiple truths. Try to see things from your student’s perspective and express your side using your perspective.

If you’re concerned about alcohol or substance use, check out these resources for families

Schedule check-ups

If possible, try to schedule doctor and dentist appointments while your student is at home over break. Now is also a great time to make sure your student is up-to-date on required vaccinations, including the flu shot. 

Students with the CU Gold Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) can find local providers through Anthem or use their insurance for telehealth visits with Medical Services on campus.

Students can also get a free flu shot or COVID-19 booster on campus by scheduling an appointment with Medical Services

Prepare for winter

Colorado winters can be unpredictable, so it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. Break is a great time to check in with your student to see if they are ready for winter before returning for the spring semester. Students should have plenty of warm clothing layers, a winter coat, gloves, a hat and scarf, winter boots that are waterproof and extra blankets. If your student drives, make sure they are equipped with snow tires or chains. 

Reach out for help

  • Student Support and Case Management: If you have concerns about your student you can reach out to Student Support and Case Management (SSCM). They can help you identify signs of distress or concern, and learn how to connect with support resources. You can also refer your student to SSCM by filling out an online referral form or contacting their office at 303-492-7348.

Counseling and Psychiatric Services: If you are looking for ways to support your student with mental health concerns or if your student is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at 303-492-2277.