Mother with arm around teenage daughter as they take a walk outside

Planning a successful summer

It’s your student’s last summer at home, so it’s no surprise if you’re feeling a little sentimental—and maybe a little anxious to make some great memories before your student heads off to college.

Before you get too overwhelmed with the idea of your student leaving for good, know that it’s very likely that they’ll live at home again—during breaks, during summer, and possibly even after they graduate. So while this may seem like their last time home, don’t put too much pressure on this summer by constantly thinking of it as the end of an era.

In order to make the summer a successful one for your family, it’s important to recognize this as a time of transition for your student, and set your expectations accordingly. Here are some tips that can help:

Enjoy the little moments.

While an epic summer vacation can be a great send-off for your student, much of your summer will be made up of smaller moments. Take some time to focus on them: that great talk you had in the car on the way to orientation, or the baseball game you went to, or the time you spontaneously went out for ice cream.

Expect them to prioritize friends.

You may be focused on creating family time this summer—but your student may be more focused on friends. Expect that they’ll want to spend a lot of time with their buddies before they all head off to college. Talk with your student about how they would like to schedule family time—they might have some good ideas for working it in.

Give them some extra independence.

Remember that in a couple short months your student will be on his or her own. This summer is good time to start giving them a little additional independence, balanced with additional responsibilities. The shift can help you both adjust to what life will be like when your student returns home from college on break.

Talk about the rules.

As you offer more independence you may want to shift around your house rules a bit. Talk over your expectations with your student. For example, if you’re lifting their curfew, will you still expect them to check in with a call or text?

As a parent, you want to preserve great memories with your soon-to-be college student—staying flexible about family fun and keeping open communication it will go long way toward making this one of your best summers yet.

Caroline Hanson
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Caroline Hanson

Communications Consultant at Wells Fargo
Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written. Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
Caroline Hanson
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