Returning home for the summer after being away at college for an entire year can be a challenging transition. You are back in your parents’ home, but you’ve become used to making your own decisions and not having to be accountable to anyone about where you are or what you’re doing. Your parents, however, probably remember you as the high school senior who had rules and curfews, and they don’t necessarily expect that to change. Such attitudes about living at home for the summer from both sides can cause major tension, so it’s important to talk to your parents about your expectations and ask them what their expectations for you are.

Sitting down and talking with your parents about the summer is an important first step. Talk about everything, even little things you think might not matter. Ask if they expect you to have a curfew, let them know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and if they expect you to ask permission not to attend events the rest of your family plans to attend. These are things that they most likely expected from you in high school, but that you have gotten used to ignoring in college. As a freshman, nobody checked to make sure you were in your room at 11 PM or came to find you if you didn’t go to class. Your parents are a little more likely to wonder about your whereabouts.

When you talk to your parents, keep in mind extenuating circumstances in your house. Do you rely on your parents for use of one of their cars, meaning you can’t always just leave or go somewhere when you want? Do you have much younger siblings that might result in your parents wanting you not to watch that R-rated movie in the living room? Simple things you might have forgotten about make a big difference, especially in households with younger children who have to keep some semblance of order even though you’re on vacation.

Whatever decisions you and your parents come to, remember that the summer after your freshman year is just a summer. It can be a lot of fun to get to hang out with your family and spend time with them, and this is a unique opportunity to spend time with your parents as more of an adult than a child. You can get to know them more as individuals instead of just your parents. The reverse, of course, is that too much togetherness can have you yearning for the freedom of college again. If you decide you hate it this year, then you can make other plans for next summer. No matter what, make the most of this summer and the experiences you can enjoy.

School is out and the first few days at home are great! Your parents are happy to have you home and you are enjoying taking a break from classes.  As the weeks go on, the patience of you and your parents will be challenged.  It is important to understand where the both of you stand on certain topics and mutually agree on house rules. 

As a student that finished your freshman year, you have to keep in mind that a little under a year ago you were still at home and not the independent person you are today.  Your parents have to also understand that you have been on your own for almost a year.  You may have some new thoughts and new habits they may not be accustom to or agree with.

When going home, be sure you understand and respect the rules in your parent’s house.  You will want to verify certain things like curfew, dinner expectations, cleanliness, and having guest visit. Be sure you ask questions on these topics before you engage in the activities that will cause stress and strain on you and your parent’s relationship.

It is also good to communicate what you have on your agenda. Do you plan to work during the summer? Are you going to go and visit friends? Will you take classes? Do you want to travel? These are all things you have to ask yourself and communicate clearly with your parents.  Being home is exciting and gives you the opportunity to see family and friends from high school. Be sure you are spreading your time evenly among all those that will want your attention. Give time to younger siblings, pets, and grandparents.  Look for moments to bring old and new friends together at the same time.  Spend time with just your parents and let them reconnect with you. 

Finding balance is the most important part of transitioning home for the summer. Communicating your goals for the summer and learning the goals of everyone else will help you to develop a plan and schedule to accomplish everything on your list.  Remember that some of the things that you were able to do while on campus, you will not be able to do while at home.  You have to respect the rules in place and not challenge the authority of your parents.  Three months of summer will go by fast and will be a short sacrifice for the peace that will be achieved by respecting your parent’s wishes and communicating with them.  School is out for the summer, now go on and enjoy.