Smooth Transitions from College to Home

Smooth Transitions from College to Home
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What was your experience living at home after high school or college?

Today’s blog post is a guest post from my youngest daughter, Jill Donaldson. Having just graduated from college and returning home for her last summer before grad school, I asked Jill to give tips for parents and students for coming home from college and transitioning back to family life for the summer or winter break.

The biggest way to create a smooth transition from college to home for the whole family is through clear communication of expectations. As a parent, what way do you expect your child to help around the house or what meals do you expect them to participate in? As a student, what freedoms do you expect to have? Having those conversations will greatly improve the transition especially if the student has work or school obligations on top of family expectations. 


One of the things that parents can do to adapt to their child’s level of college independence is to set clear expectations of their time. It is reasonable to ask your child to let you know what days they will be home for dinner or an estimate of what time they will be home when they go out. Also when they come home from school let them know what chores or family obligations you expect them to help with so that they know what you expect them to do during the week and can schedule accordingly. These conversations will help avoid conflicts that can arise from lack of communication.


I believe that as long as you are living in your parents’ house they have the final say in what expectations they have for you. It is important that you listen to the expectations that your parents have, but also to communicate what you want from them. When you come home from college for the summer you should expect to be required to help around the house. While you should be given more freedom to make your own schedule and plans, it is nice if you let your family know where you are going and what time you might be back so that they know what meals to include you in. This is similar to good communication skills you would have with a roommate or spouse. It will help avoid last minute conflicts and disappointments.

In my experience it has been helpful for my family to have a shared google calendar so that I know what events I need to be available for and my family knows what I am doing. I also make sure that I let my mom know what nights I won’t be home for dinner. Additionally, since I am the least busy member of the household, I try to see if there are any chores or cooking that I can help with when I am home and not busy. My parents don’t expect me to tell them where I am going or who I’m hanging out with, but usually I do. And I think because it isn’t a requirement, I am more open to letting them know. We have found that there is less conflict when we communicate what is going on. Even as a teen, a shared family calendar helped us to quickly check the family schedule when last minute plans came up. It avoided many back and forth conversations to schedule plans with friends, too, because I knew what family plans were already on the calendar.

Have other tips? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Table Talk: How does your family communicate schedules and coordinate calendars? What are some helpful tips you could give families on how to have smooth transitions in moving back home?

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