And just like that another college year has gone by, which can only mean one thing – THEY ARE HOME FOR THE SUMMER. As parents, we’re both relieved and excited they’ve safely completed another year of higher education, and are back under our roof. And then reality sets in, when they roll into the house like sherpas (huge loads of random – and dirty – belongings on their backs) which they promptly drop smack dab in your foyer on their way to the refrigerator. Ahh, it’s good to have them back! Until it isn’t anymore!
But there’s a few things you can both do to make the “home for summer” transition go a little smoother and a little less stressful. Start with these tips…
7 Ways Parents Can Keep Their College Kids From Driving Them Nuts This Summer
1. Your home, your rules
It’s important to set YOUR house ground rules as soon as possible, so you both know what to expect from each other. If this mean you want to maintain a curfew, then do it – it’s your house, your call. If you’d rather them do their own chores and laundry (like they have been) then tell them immediately – don’t wait for it to pile up like bad assumptions and dirty dishes. I
f you’ve decided to allow them to maintain their own schedule and enjoy the same freedoms they’ve had while away at college, that’s your call too. Either way, clearly communicate your thoughts on this right away before endless arguments about “freedom and independence” followed by screaming matches with “I’m an adult now!” ensue.
2. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer
Since the part-time and temporary job market for older teens and young adults may still be in somewhat of a recession mode, don’t expect your college student to land a great job as soon as they gets home. A wonderful alternative (and one that will go a long way in landing him secure real employment later) is to go ahead and seek out unpaid internships and volunteer opportunities.
You’d be amazed at the amazing “jobs” you can secure when you don’t have to be paid. Don’t be shy, have your student aggressively offer their services for free at a workplace on their future career field. Yes, their bank account will suffer, but their resumes will be filling up with genuine work experience, not to mention excellent networking opportunities.
3. Work on resumes, personal websites
Now is the perfect time for your student to start working on their very first real resume, or career personal website/blog. Yes, I did say personal website. These days it takes more than a piece of heavy weight card stock to impress future employers, so having your own professional landing spot on the internet is a must. Seek out help with HTML or WordPress workshops from your local library, or even seek out a summer class on it.
[Read Next: Summer Plan: How to Light a Fire Under Your Kid]
4. Speaking of summer classes
Take them! Your local community college offers plenty of summer class choices, most of which will transfer to your university. (Just contact your school to ensure you can get credit.) Get those pesky pre-requisites out of the way cheaper and quicker while at home during the summer.
5. Read a book together/see movies together (because you can both enjoy the same ‘adult” things now!)
Gone are the days of sharing Goodnight Moon and hearing your high schooler complain about Shakespeare, and how he has no time or interest in reading what mom is reading. Now is the perfect time for you and your young adult to start reading the same recreational books, and it’s pretty awesome to be able to talk about sizzling page turners with them and see their excitement. Plan to knock out two novels this summer-one you pick out, and one they pick out.
And don’t forget to hit up your local independent theater to check out some indie or foreign films. It’s the perfect age to expand their minds a little (or a little more.)
[Read Next: 31 Ways Students Can Make the Most of Their Time Off]
6. Shop for future apartments
Summer months typically mean moving season for many, which also means amazing moving sales. This is the perfect time to start hitting up yard sales and online classifieds for great deals on all kinds of large furniture items and small household furnishings on the cheap, and the best method for bulking up that empty first college apartment.
7. Leave them alone
I know you’ve missed them dearly, and you’re extremely anxious to bond right away and make up for the last year of being apart. But put on the brakes a little, and let those first few weeks be a time to gradually get back into the routine of being around each other. That may well mean leaving them alone, and resisting any nagging or obnoxious hovering. You’re gonna want to be up bright and early with all kinds of plans for the day, while your student has most likely been living nocturnally and doesn’t start their day until 2 p.m. Relax, he will slowly get on your schedule, and will soon be warming up to the idea of hanging out with the family again (and actually enjoying it!)
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Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer and adjunct librarian at Pasco-Hernando State College. Find her writing all over the internet, but her work mostly on the dinner table. She is on Facebook at 4BoysMother and on twitter at @melissarunsaway.