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5 tips to support students when they come home for break

By Karen Hagan, wife of President Scott Hagan

There is nothing more exciting than Christmas break for college students! They have been working hard day and night to “make the grade” and keep up with the schedule of university life. There have been late nights of study for papers and tests, as well as some fun (which may not have been the smartest choice, but was fun nonetheless). There have also been early morning classes, and a lot of homework.

As Christmas break commences, I thought I would give you a few ideas as to how to make Christmas break with your college student the best it can be.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I have had three of my four children go through college, and have had lots of experience both good and challenging as we met up with expectations that didn’t quite mesh for the short time they are back home.

Here are 5 tips for enjoying your Christmas holiday with your college student!

Don’t make your schedule too full

Try not to make a ton of plans! Especially in those first few days. Trust me, your student is at least 30 hours shy of sleep so they will probably want to sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. Then there’s the joy of ‘vegging out’ on the couch, watching movies, sports, or catching up on their favorite shows on Netflix. Your student has worked hard, and they need to recover!

Be at home

If you can, try to be home as much as possible. We all know that it often takes strategic planning in this busy world to find space and margin in your work week—even in the holiday season. Christmas should be a time when we slow down and enjoy life a little. I know that my kids just wanted to spend some “hang out” time, especially with their siblings, playing games, and catching up.

5 tips to support students when they come home for break

Make their favorite foods

They have been enjoying the delicacies of cafeteria food for the past 3 months or so and have missed all the tastes that only mom can make. Ask them what they would like to have for dinners or breakfasts. Those are my family’s favorite meals.

Whenever we have special family time, they always want to have breakfast around the table, or dinner all together. I absolutely love those times and remember so many of the fun conversations that we have had over the years. So many laughs and so many pancakes, French toast, bacon….just all the yummies! And no counting calories!!!

Anticipate time with friends

After all the great beginning moments of family time, don’t be offended if your child wants to hang out with friends. They have created a lot of new friends at NCU, but there is nothing like spending time with old friends that know you from way back, catching up on what has gone on in each other’s lives, and probably reminiscing about the past fun they have all had together. Hanging out with old friends is like letting the air out, they are able to just be themselves! It’s good for the soul to be with people who know you well, and where you do not have to deal with the extra energy it takes getting to know new people. They have had plenty of all that in the past few months.

Don’t forget your traditions

Make sure you plan for all the fun family Christmas traditions. They will be excited to feel all the feels of Christmas. We used to go out for pizza downtown, and then walk to the outside ice-skating rink. Maybe your family goes to see all the beautiful Christmas lights, or a concert, or watches your favorite Christmas movie together. It is always so much fun doing the things that we considered traditions for our family. Really, the best part of Christmas break is just spending time together.

Enjoy time with your student

Lastly, I would encourage you not to press them for information. Once your son or daughter is relaxed and back in the flow of their family environment they will probably begin sharing about all their experiences.

Don’t underestimate the value of breaks with your student. Even though they might not acknowledge it for years, they value time and traditions with family. In fact, my son brought up our pizza and ice-skating tradition the other day and all of my children are now out of college and married with kids. So focus on having restful time with your family and building lasting traditions together.

Support your student while they finish their semester

Treat them to a care package

Want to surprise your student with a special treat? You can order all kinds of treats through our dining services provider, Pioneer College Caterers!

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