When Your Student Comes back Home for Breaks/Holidays

We asked parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to think back to their student’s freshmen year and what they wish they had known.  Their advice is below.


Homesickness is not unusual, even for kids who have been away before college.  Don’t underestimate the desire to come home, sleep in their own bed, have a home cooked meal.

Be prepared for your student to be more independent when they come home to visit.  They have been taking care of themselves and can continue to do so when they come home.

Christmas is hard! They want to be independent like at school. Give them more freedom but assign a LATE curfew. We just tell ours to wake us when he gets home. we know he is safe and we sleep peacefully.

One of the toughest things to adjust to is having your child leave as your child, and return home as an adult. They will learn to make their own decisions and their own choices, and when they come home, it will be an adjustment for you as a parent and for them as your child to find a balance between living their life, and living their life under your rules and expectations.

We didn’t really feel a change in family dynamics first semester, but when she was home for the first summer, there was the tension of newly found independence which bumped up against how we operate at home (going out with high school friends and coming home at 3am).  We had to put curfews/rules in place, tough at first, but we’ve all managed to adjust.  Just be sure to expect it.


[Editorial note: The comments have been minimally edited and grouped together for coherence.  In come cases, comments were combined with others.  When we had parents responding with the same advice, we repeated it for emphasis.  In the event a parent offered advice that ran counter to what Wake Forest advises, it was not included.  These comments represent the views of the parent commentators, not the views of the Office of Family Engagement (formerly Parent Programs office) or Wake Forest. ]