Making a college freshman’s Thanksgiving break a success involves creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment while also addressing their specific needs and preferences. Here are three ways to make their Thanksgiving break memorable:
- Balance Family Time, Alone Time, And Time With FriendsChances are you want to spend every waking moment with your college freshman (you’ve missed them), but it’s probably not ideal for either of you. Sure, they’re glad to see you, but they also want time to decompress and hang out with friends.It’s a good idea to plan family activities and meals that encourage bonding and conversation, so you’re sure to have that coveted time you crave. Sharing stories and catching up can help your college freshman feel loved and connected.Just be sure to balance family time with opportunities for your student to relax and recharge independently. College life can be hectic, so allow them some personal space to decompress, perhaps in their old room with familiar objects.
If possible, encourage your freshman to reconnect with high school friends. Organizing a small get-together or outing with old friends can make the break even more enjoyable.
- Bring Out All The Home ComfortsThere’s nothing like the sight, smell, and feel of being “home,” and this may be the first time your college freshman is home since they moved into their dorms at the start of the semester.An easy way to welcome them back is to prepare their favorite home-cooked meals or treats they’ve missed while away at college. Food can evoke nostalgia and create a sense of comfort.Having a cozy space to call their own is a good idea, too. Ensure their room or a designated space at home is comfortable and personalized. Adding familiar decorations or bedding can make it feel cozier.
Finally, embrace family traditions and activities that your student looks forward to each Thanksgiving. This continuity can provide a sense of stability and nostalgia that’s comforting to your college freshman.
- Have Supportive ConversationsIt’s easy to want to pepper your college freshman with questions about life on campus, classes, and a million other things. Just be sure to create a safe space for your freshman to share their experiences, challenges, and aspirations — if they want to. The key is to actively listen without judgment. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s worth it to make them feel welcome.If they need help with coursework or college-related decisions, offer guidance and support. Consider discussing their academic goals and planning for the future only if they want to. Some students may prefer to give all school talk a real break, and that’s OK, too.
Remember that each college freshman’s needs and preferences may vary, so it’s important to communicate openly and be flexible to ensure a successful Thanksgiving break. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a loving and nurturing environment that allows your freshman to relax, recharge, and enjoy their time at home, so they’ll come right back for the holidays!
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