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Winter Break for College Students – A Parent’s Guide

Posted: August 24, 2022
Winter Break for College Students

Many parents go through an empty nest period once their college student moves away from home for the first time. For nearly two decades your child lived at home, and you saw them nearly every day. Once you set them free on their own for the first time, they made their own rules. When they needed to clean, do laundry, and decide what to make for dinner was all their own decisions.  

Now with the semester ending, they’re returning home for a few weeks for winter break. It’s great to have them back at home, but parents can struggle to find a balance of setting rules under your roof and letting your child grow their independence while they’re back for winter break. It’s not easy and that’s why we’re here to help.  

What to do over Winter Break with your College Student

The reality is that you might not see your college student a ton during winter break. Whether or not that’s because you turned their old bedroom into a home office is a discussion for another day. When college students return home, they likely want to hang out with their friends that they grew up with, make extra money, or catch up on sleep.  

It’s important to help them achieve what they want to do over winter break and set plans with them while they are back at home. Here are a few ways to help your student have the best winter break as a parent.  

Find Balance in Parenting your College Student

Your child heading to college is a major step toward adulthood. They are making adult choices for themselves. It’s a bit of a reality check when they come back home where there are rules and standards set by you the parents. Now they don’t need to be given a list of chores, but you have to also be the parent.  

They are still your child and living under your roof. They should still be expected to help around the house. However, they will also want to sleep in and probably eat a ton of your food because they’ve had to make dorm room meals for months. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with them from the start.  

Before your child gets home for break, think about what you want and what they need. Are you okay with them sleeping till 10 a.m.? What is their curfew going to be or will they have one? What will they need to do around the house? It can be similar to the rules you had before but remember you don’t want to stunt their growth as an adult either. Consider that when thinking about ideas when they’re coming home. 

Also be prepared for problems to arise, especially if there are younger siblings in the house. All your childrens’ lives have been altered the past few months. When the older sibling returns, it can be a fantastic and frustrating time for younger siblings. Everyone had more freedom for a while and there tends to be newfound issues that lead to normal sibling scuffles. It all works itself out like it normally does but prepared for it to happen again.  

Look for Jobs for College Students over Winter Break

Admissions for college are expensive. Add in books, online subscriptions for homework, and meals, the price becomes a lot for a college student. Winter break is a perfect time to make a little extra cash when there aren’t many responsibilities for your child to worry about. However, a business isn’t going to hire a student for only a few weeks most of the time. That’s where you as the parent can help.  

There are numerous ways students can still make money without getting a real job and you can help. While your student is busy with finals, start mentioning to your friends that your child is coming back home for a few weeks. Maybe your friends are heading out of town for the holidays and need someone to watch their dog. Your best friend could be begging to have a night away from the kids, your child could babysit for a day or two for money. Someone you know in your town that has a small shop possibly needs help the next few weeks and has an opportunity for your child. It’s worth them considering delivering groceries or food through one of the service apps. These are all quick ways for your child to make money in a job over winter break.  

Set Plans with your College Student

As we’ve explained, your student will probably stay busy during winter break, even if it is just relaxing. Winter break is also the holiday season and plenty of other family members will want to see them while they are home. Outside of holiday events, make plans with them ahead of time because they’ll be obligated to go and not hang out with their friends or work a side hustle.  

Here are a few ideas of things you could plan with them:  

  • Family vacation for a few days 
  • Dinner out at your child’s favorite restaurant 
  • Movie night 
  • Play board games together  
  • Any other family traditions you have 

These ideas, like a movie night or a dinner out together at their favorite restaurant, can recreate their favorite memories and really enrich the time together. As much as you missed them, they missed being home too. This time together is valuable because life is different once they are in college and after they graduate. Asking them before they make other plans makes it easier on everyone and they can still make plans of their own.  

Speaking of future plans, winter break means that your student is halfway done with the school year. Soon enough you’ll need to move them home for the summer break and Collegeboxes can help with that too. We are the top student storage and shipping provider. With services like Storage and Shipping for summer break, Ship to School, and Direct Shipping, we’ve been able to serve students at 350-plus schools nationwide. After winter break wraps up, start planning for summer break with us by signing up today.

Please visit our Parents Page for more information on how Collegeboxes can assist you and your student.

More Collegeboxes tips for parents: 

How to Pack for College: 10 Tips for Your Freshman 

A Parent’s Guide to College Moving  

Tips for Parenting College Students Through Freshman Year