Updated: Nov 20
How to Prepare For Your Student’s Return Home for the Holidays
The holidays are approaching and the excitement of having your student back home is palpable. As you prepare for their return, there are a few things to consider.
When you dropped them off at college, they were bright-eyed, excited, and nervous about the new chapter they were about to begin. Three months later, they've gained some independence, made their own decisions, got themselves up and out of bed, and gone to lectures without anyone nagging them to eat breakfast or wear a jacket, and followed their own timetable.
So when your student returns to the family home for the holidays, it will be a mixture of comfort and irritation.
To you, they are still your child.
To them, they're returning as a fully independent adult.
The transition back to the family home can be difficult.
A Personalised Holiday Welcome Home For Your Student
As you prepare to welcome them home, transforming your student's room into a cosy holiday retreat can be a great way to surprise them.
I'm not saying you need to hire a decorator! But it might be a nice touch to give your student's room a bit of a makeover - especially if they still have bright colours or their football team bedding from their childhood!
Changing the colour scheme to a calm oasis of white, beige, or grey with pops of their favourite colour sends a great message to them that you recognize their transition to adulthood.
It also makes their home environment calm and relaxing, where the only sounds they can hear are the family dog, parents on a work call, or pots and pans clunking in the kitchen, rather than another student’s blaring music or loud conversations in the next room.
From this... to this!
Making Your Student’s Room a Comfortable Haven
Here are some simple ideas to give their room a bit of a makeover:
1. Framed Family Moments
Surround their room with framed photos that capture cherished memories. It's an instant trip down memory lane.
2. DIY Welcome Sign
A homemade "Welcome Home" sign adds a personal touch and sets a festive tone.
3. Organized Shelves for a Clutter-Free Space
Decluttering is fun (well, it is for me!)
Clear the room of unnecessary items to create additional space.
Organize shelves neatly with books, memorabilia, their beauty products and any decorative items you think they might like.
Get rid of (or recycle) old clothes and organize their wardrobe. Your student may wish to bring home the lighter clothes they took to college when the weather was warmer. So make space and get the warmer clothes ready to be taken back to university after the holidays.
4. Organized Study Space
If your student needs to revise for exams during the holidays, designate an area, or redesign their study area with a well-organized desk to create a productive and comfortable space.
Read our blog on how to organise a good study space for more ideas.
4. Give them the Green Vibes with Plants and Festive Foliage
A small potted plant or bonsai or a succulent adds life and a touch of nature to their room.
Certain plants are also oxygen-boosting and aid sleep (not that lack of sleep is an issue for most teens!). What are the benefits of oxygen plants? They have the ability to improve indoor air quality. Dry indoor air is the cause for a host of ailments like respiratory problems, colds, sore throats, and even breakouts. So with those benefits, it would be a shame not to include at least one in the room. And they spend so much time in their rooms, the added oxygen will be a blessing!
Don’t forget to go rescue any live plants when they return to university!
Alternatively, you can get artificial hanging plants from IKEA.
Consider putting up a mini Christmas tree or some Christmas decoration for a seasonal and lively touch that will make them smile.
5. Comfort Zone Upgrades for Relaxation
Update their bedding with soft, cosy blankets and cushions as a snug way to unwind after a hectic semester.
Create a comfy reading corner with a soft chair or bean bag and a stack of good books to read.
Holiday Homecoming: Creating Memory Lane as Your Student Returns
The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect, reminisce, and strengthen your evolving relationship. Create a collage of unforgettable moments as a reminder of life at home.
This could be a photo album of some favourite memories.
Stick Polaroid prints around the bedroom mirror frame
Frame larger-size photo for the walls or add some smaller photos to their noticeboard.
It’s a quick and easy way to put a smile on their face and evoke memories.
Communications 101: Initiate Open Conversations
How do you get your student to talk when they just want to chill, stay in their room and watch movies or call their friends?
You may want them to participate in family activities, walk the dog, help around the house - all the things you would have asked them to do before they left.
Any younger siblings in the house may be overjoyed to have their older sibling home and want to hang out, which they may find irritating and just want their space.
Have an open discussion about what you expect from your student BEFORE they come home for the holidays, so you can discuss expectations from both sides. Tell them that you will also make an effort to respect their need for personal space, downtime and autonomy.
This way, you are more likely to avoid disappointment and arguments!
Making the Most of Family Time
Family Bonding Activities:
Plan activities that will bridge the gap between their college life and their home life and encourage stronger family bonds. Go for walks in the forest or on a drive in the car or to the shopping mall.
There may be some favourite games you used to play as a family that will bring back good memories. Avoid the ones that don’t, and that used to cause fights! Monopoly, anyone?!
For example, in my family, when everyone is home for a nice family dinner – we have a tradition of playing after-dinner games, such as Cards for Humanity, etc. Contact me if you want a list of games that go down well with all the family!
I bring out sweetie jars fully of candy (I know, I know, but we love it!) and we get sugared up and laugh. It’s a nice memory for my kids.
Last Christmas, we changed things up and made funny TikTok videos. I may or may not share those videos with you!
Embracing the Festive Holidays: Creating a Welcome Home for Your College Student
As you prepare to welcome your student home for the holidays, remember that the magic is in the thoughtful details. From personal touches to fostering open communication, these simple strategies can turn their return into a celebration.
Ready for more tips and guidance?
Don't miss out on essential resources!
Have you picked up your copy of From High School to Uni yet? Packed with invaluable advice and strategies, it's the ULTIMATE guidebook for students preparing for university life – and for parents who want to help their students get organised.
Don't miss your chance to equip them with the tools they need to meet the challenges of the year ahead.
Buy a copy for your student’s Christmas stocking!
Thank you for being part of our community, and here's to a holiday season filled with warmth, laughter and unforgettable moments with your returning student. Wishing you all the joy that this season brings!