3 Strategies for success if your college student is living at home this fall

Shutterstock | Antonio Guillem

Virtual university because of the pandemic is a big bummer, but here’s how to make the experience better.

It’s a weird time to be a college kid. For many, heading off to university this year won’t include the usual college move-in experience: lugging their stuff to campus, meeting the new roommate and the overly enthusiastic dorm staff, stocking up a mini-fridge and hanging posters in the new room. Instead, many are doing freshman orientation and all their classes virtually, while still living at home in their high-school bedroom.

The situation is a real bummer, and it’s no wonder many students are feeling bewildered or disappointed. If your college-aged child is living at home this fall, here are 3 ways to support them through a very unusual fall semester.

Set aside space in your home, both physically and mentally.

Even during a pandemic, most college kids need a giant stack of books! Make sure there’s room for their academic materials and a dedicated workspace for their classes and homework.

Making space also means a mental shift. Even though your kid was already living at home, he will be much less available once school starts than he was over the summer. All those classes take up a lot of time! Expect and accept that you won’t be seeing as much of your college-aged kid once she’s busy working on projects, exams, and papers.

Make time to connect with each other.

If you think about it, there’s a hidden blessing in your college kid living at home: You get to have them under your roof for a little longer. The barrage of schoolwork will be time-consuming, but carve out pockets of time to spend together, such as a standing weekly breakfast date or watching a favorite TV show together on the weekends.

Encourage them to get outside and stay active.

Virtual classes, online exams, video-call study groups … It all adds up to an awful lot of time spent online! They need a breather from all that time on the computer. When their schedule permits, plan on hikes, picnics, and other outdoorsy fun as a welcome break from all the screen time.

What are your best tips for supporting your college-aged kid who’s living at home this fall? Share in the comments to help other parents and families in this situation!

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