Giving Your College Student What They Need This Holiday Season

Giving Your College Student What They Need This Holiday Season

What College Kids Really Want from Their Families During the Holidays

Last year as I passed the halfway mark of my 12-14-hour commute from North Dakota to Illinois, I stopped to fill up my car, got a bite to eat, and turned on my Christmas tunes to get myself motivated to blast through Wisconsin.

While I was winding my way along the dark highway at 10pm, I was looking forward to going home more than ever.

To me, home during the holidays feels right. Being in the security of family and friends, eating something other than boxed mac n’ cheese, and taking a break from the stress of school is one of the best feelings in the world.

Today’s college student is plagued with anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, but there are a few steps you can take as a parent that will help repair some of the mental damage that college can wreak on your child’s mind.

Giving Your College Student What They Need This Holiday Season

  1. A few days to decompress before inquiring about GPA and grades

College isn’t cheap. For many families, the ability to send their child to college means years of savings. Parents funding their child’s education have every right to know how their student is faring in the college atmosphere.

However, use the first few days to welcome your college student back home. Give your child a few days to unwind and decompress before you ask, “How were your grades this semester?” If your child is doing well in college, chances are you’ll know beforehand.

School is the last thing I want to talk about when I go home. Even though many college students enjoy their major, they are dealing with the stress of balancing college life and all the adjustments that brings. Wait a few days before inquiring about the semester’s academic success.

Giving your college student a few days to rest and process the semester will give them a clearer perspective. And, they’ll be more open to your thoughts and advice.

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  1. Let your college student know that you’re proud of them

Most college students care greatly about making their parents proud. Reinforcing the pride that you have in your child is a good way to boost their confidence and reassure them that they can succeed and solve their problems.

If your college student got a mediocre GPA this semester, build them up in a constructive way. Problem-solve with them by helping them analyze lifestyle choices they made so they can figure out what they need to change to have a successful spring semester.

The semesters I didn’t do so well, my parents started off telling me they knew I could succeed. Then, they helped me troubleshoot areas where I could improve as a person to achieve better grades the following semester.

  1. Encourage your college student to see friends while they are home

Seeing friends from high school, church, or other activities is a good way for students to feel at home. Talking with peers about college troubles and sharing stories always reassures me that I’m not the only person struggling to figure things out in college.

Even knowing this, it’s easy to get home and stay home. So, encourage your college student to connect with their friends while home. You can do this by asking if they’ve talked to Johnny or Amanda while they were at school.

  1. Meals at home

Going out to eat is easy during the holidays. Everyone in the family is busy, and going out is a simple solution. But, I always look forward to sitting down and eating with my parents when I’m home. Being in a quiet house, eating dinner with family, and talking about how our day went is very comforting.

Not to mention, I prefer to eat home cooked food when I’m at home. Meals at college are not quite up to par with how Mom cooks.

  1. Family time, family time, family time

While seeing friends is fun, I try to spend as much time with my family as I can. Playing a game, watching Christmas movies, or going to see the Christmas concert at a local church is a good way to make up for lost time.

There’s no place like home for the holidays. And being able to go to the Christmas parade or a community event with family is a fun way to spend time together during the holidays.

While it may seem like college students are hard to cater to when they come home, all we really want for the holidays is support and family. As I’ve gotten older, presents at Christmas don’t mean as much to me as they used to. Now I enjoy seeing family and catching up with old friends.

Relaxing and resting after the stressful school semester is enough for me, and I feel that many college students will agree with those statements.


Kaleb Nieman_BrandStormMarketingKaleb Nieman is a college student, entrepreneur, and tech geek. He is going into his senior year at the University of North Dakota, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history. Kaleb owns a startup called Brandstorm Marketing, which manages social media and content curation for businesses. He loves technology and gaming, and spends his free time researching tech and gaming on his self-built PC. Upon graduation, Kaleb hopes to take Brandstorm to the next level by making it a large social media management agency located in Peoria, Illinois.

What College Kids Really Want from Their Families During the Holidays

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