For the families whose student is moving home for the summer after being away at school, there will be an adjustment period for everyone involved. This may also relate to “boomerang students” who have graduated but plan to live back at home. By talking about a few things upfront, you can make the transition smoother and much more pleasant.

  • Expectations. Students will be returning home after experiencing a time of independence and self-responsibility. Being told what to do and when can be a shock to their system. So, sit down and discuss everyone’s expectations for behavior, curfews and more right at the beginning. Try not to talk at your student; but instead, talk with your student. Listen to his or her perspective as you come to a mutual understanding about how the summer will go.
  • Finances. Does your student need a summer job and has he or she started the process to secure one? Does your student have a clear understanding regarding how much money he or she needs to save up this summer? Have you discussed things like next semester expenses or for the graduate – living expenses, spending money, work expectations and more? Again, having a proactive discussion in May is much better than reacting poorly later on.
  • Family Responsibilities. Incorporating your student back into the everyday flow of your family’s life may involve some growing pains. What household responsibilities will your student pick up as part of the family living at home? What obligations are already in place that he or she should plan for (i.e. a family reunion, graduation party or family vacation)? Hold a “family meeting” where everyone gets out their calendars to plot out the summer and come to mutual agreements about shared tasks and time.
  • Transportation. If your student doesn’t have their own vehicle, he or she may ask to borrow yours. Determine how this will work so you’re not feeling taken advantage of and so the limits and costs are clearly understood. Discuss public transportation possibilities, biking, shared rides and more—a car isn’t the only viable answer.
  • Shared Space. Living under the same roof for the summer can be a wonderful time of connection. Yet, it may take some work, and most likely, some compromise. Students who are used to their own space at college will need to adjust to living in the family house again—and you’ll need to adjust to them being there again. What does this mean when it comes to laundry, meals, tidiness, noise and more? Have the conversation now.
  • Visitors and Visiting. College students get used to making their own decisions about who will come to visit or who and when they will visit someone else. Yet, when living with the family again, these decisions need to be made collectively, so as not to disrupt anyone. Let your student know that you appreciate their time with friends, as long as you have advanced notice. Discuss parameters while also encouraging your student to keep up those important friend connections.
  • Connections and Memories. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with one another, adult to young adult. What are things you can do together that will become lasting memories? Taking walks before or after work, volunteering on a project, cooking weekend meals together, going to a movie with discussion and dinner afterwards, getting out the favorite family board games or having late night card games – anything where you are together. The talking, laughing, sharing, and learning more about each other will be remembered.

Having your student home for the summer can be a wonderful thing, as long as you talk out some possible glitches before they become an issue. So, get out the coffee and gather around the kitchen table to talk through this transition. As long as you communicate from the start, everyone will enjoy being together again.