For college students returning home during the holidays, it can be stressful going from the independence of campus life back to family life.

It’s that time of year when a college student packs up their laundry (thanks, mom!) and heads back to their childhood home for Thanksgiving break. However, for college students returning home during the holidays, this picture isn’t always as idyllic as it seems. The transition from the independence of campus life to the structure and dynamics of their family can be a challenging ordeal.

Holiday Survival Tips:
  1. Pack Patience, Not Just Clothes: Remember that your parent’s home is not your dorm room or apartment. Things may have changed or moved around, so keep an open mind and be patient as you adjust to the family dynamic.
  2. Communicate Your Plans: Your parents will appreciate knowing your schedule and plans. Are you meeting up with old friends? Going to a local event? This way, they won’t worry when you’re not home for dinner.
  3. Help in the Kitchen: Get involved in the holiday preparations. Offer to chop vegetables, set the table, or bake cookies. Not only will this be appreciated, but it’s a great way to bond with family members.
  4. Respect House Rules: Remember, you’re temporarily living under your parents’ roof, so abide by their house rules. Whether it’s a curfew or chores, showing respect for their rules goes a long way.
  5. Share Stories, Not Just Screens: College students…put down your phone, tablet, or laptop. Take this opportunity to have real conversations with your family, share stories, and reconnect without digital distractions.
  6. Offer Gratitude: It’s Thanksgiving, after all! Express your gratitude not just for the meal but for all the love and support your family has given you throughout the years.
  7. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane: Explore old photo albums, yearbooks, and memorabilia. Reminisce about the good times, and share stories with your family. It’s a fantastic way to reconnect and bond.
  8. Be Responsible: If you plan to go out with friends, be responsible and let your parents know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Safety first!
  9. Help with Cleanup: After the Thanksgiving feast, offer to help with cleanup. It’s a kind gesture that shows your appreciation and relieves some of the burden on your parents.
  10. Make Plans for Quality Time: Suggest activities you can do together as a family. Whether it’s board games, a movie night, or a nature walk, making memories is what Thanksgiving is all about.
  11. Express Your Love: Before heading back to college or your own place, let your family know how much you love and appreciate them. A heartfelt hug and “I love you” go a long way.
  12. Plan Future Visits: Don’t let Thanksgiving be the only time you come home. Plan future visits or invite your family to visit you in your college town. It’s a great way to maintain your connection.

Returning home for Thanksgiving is a special time to reconnect with family and recharge. As a college student, be mindful, respectful, and engaged, and you can make the most of this holiday while creating cherished memories with your loved ones.