The semester is almost at an end, and your students will be taking their finals this week and then working their way home for a long Winter Break. We hope this will be a wonderful time for you and your students to be together.
This is the first time that your students will be spending several *weeks* at home after living very independently for 15 weeks. There is likely to be some adjusting for both parents and students as you live together again after a semester being apart. The weekly message “Family 101” discussed some of the ways that students and parents might have to renegotiate life at home so that everyone has as happy a time as possible, and it might be worth a second read now that Winter Break is upon us.
Your students may be coming home tired and stressed out after their finals. The Counseling Center has assembled some excellent resources about holiday stress and strategies for managing that stress. In addition, this little gem “12 Things Happy People Do Differently” has been on the internet. In a time of post-exam stress and holiday mania, this might be a great reminder of different ways your family can experience the season together in a positive way by cultivating happiness.
Winter Break is a time for you to get to know your student as he/she develops into a more independent adult. Have deep conversations with your student. Ask your student about what has been important to him or her, what some of the best WFU experiences have been, what excites them now, or what has been a struggle. Listen more than talk, don’t push a particular agenda on their choice of friends, classes, or majors. Most of all, begin to think of them as equal adult partners in your conversations. Andy Chan, our Vice President of Personal and Career Development, has some excellent suggestions for thought-provoking conversations in his Heart of the Matter blog.
Finally, Winter Break is a time to reconnect as a family, celebrate traditions that have been important to your household (or even create new ones). Enjoy your time with your students, and give them extra TLC while they are home. They have worked hard and it has been a long semester full of major life transitions. Celebrate their successes and laugh often. January will be here before you know it.