Winter Break - the first long stretch at home since move in.
The end of the term can bring about many stressors in your students' life. Please think about and be prepared to support your student as they navigate things such as: roommate conflicts; academic pressures due to procrastination, workload and academic ability; burnout; not feeling like they have the energy to keep up the pace through finals; lack of initiative to find new friends or activities because of perception that social groups are already set up; concerns about going home for break-whether it's concern about seeing changes among friends/relationships back home or how things will be with family members.
How can you help? Start by assuring your daughter she is not alone in the stress this time of year brings. Roommates are feeling the same pressures, and everyone handles and shows stress in different ways. Be patient and understanding with one another. Encourage her to talk to her RA for assistance and advice on how to approach a roommate should there be concerns so that hopefully, they can finish the semester on a positive note. Next, remind her of the resources available around her on campus such as her advisor, the writing center, the counseling center, and the Residential Life staff. There are programs and tools available to students both in person and online to support students and help them succeed. For example, did you know that the CSB Counseling and Health Promotion website offers a section on self care? The self care page offers information and tools for managing stress, sleep and even includes audio recorded guided meditation exercises! The Residential Life staff (RAs/CAs and RDs/ACs) are working to bring programming and stress management tools into the halls as we head towards finals. Make sure students who love animals attend the "PAWS" program in the first year area where therapy animals will be on campus to visit with and help calm students headed into finals.
When it comes to your daughter coming home for break, be sure your daughter has a place to come home to, not just your house, but her space. It's not uncommon for changes to take place once a student has departed for college. Did a younger sibling get your daughter's room when she left? Did you get a new craft room/workshop? If so, make sure you prepare a space for her to sleep and store belongings and call her own, prior to coming home. This way, your student won't feel put out by or be a burden on you.
Be flexible! It's likely that you will have scheduled family gatherings for the holiday; be sure you daughter know the plan and also discuss with you daughter how she hopes to spend her time over break. Enjoy time together as a family and be understanding that your student may want to organize gatherings with friends on her own, too.
If you have other children, they will be anticipating your student's arrival, too. Remind them that your daughter will be very excited to see them, but also will have a lot to do while she is home. This will help alleviate disappointment if there is not enough time for extensive one-on-one interaction. Also, help your daughter realize how much her siblings may be looking forward to seeing her and help her to be mindful of making time for them in her plans.
Some things change; some things stay the same. Even though your daughter's habits and behaviors may have changed, your expectations of her may still be the same. Keep in mind that your student has operated independently over the last months. Hopefully, she is more adept at making decisions. Be sure to talk with your student about any expectations such as curfew, assisting with chores around the house, interacting with family members and more. Being proactive about this will help alleviate tense situations. If you are willing to adapt your expectations, let your student know this, too.