A Parent’s Guide to “The Last Summer At Home”
The summer between a student’s Senior high school year and his or her Freshman college year is a bittersweet one for parents. On one hand, they can take a great deal of pride in the fact that their child is approaching adulthood and has been accepted into a great college. On the other hand, they’re faced (usually for the first time) with the idea that their child may be moving away from home for the first time!
Parents often struggle with this “last summer at home”. Here are some tips to make it more enjoyable and less stressful for both parents and kids.
The last summer at home is a great time to be sure that your child has all the skills he or she needs to function as an independent adult. If you’ve always handled your child’s finances or you’ve never allowed him or her to do housework, they’re likely in for a surprise (and not a pleasant one) when they’re out on their own.
View summer as the opportunity to teach your child skills that he/she will need, whether it’s how to do laundry properly, how to budget, or how to maintain the car (if it’s going with them to college).
Create Family Memories
Particularly if you’re sending your oldest child off to college, you may feel as though your family is breaking apart and will never been the same. In some sense, it’s true; even if children return home the following summer or after college, they’ll never been the same age again.
Make time in the summer to enjoy quality family time, either planned trips with the whole family or even just Sunday afternoon lunches around the home when the whole family can be together. By scheduling time, you’re less likely to be anxious about missing your child’s last summer at home or to be resentful of your child’s time spent with friends outside the home.
Develop Your Own Interests
If the phrase “empty nest syndrome” strikes fear into your heart, summer is the time to begin developing your own interests to stave off parental loneliness. While you may have devoted the last several years to your child’s high school life, the coming college separation can leave you with more free time on your hands than you expected.
Take up old hobbies or interests that you may have neglected since having a child. Consider joining new groups and clubs which will let you meet more friends in your area. If you still miss the frenzy and fun of a living around a teenager, consider volunteering at your child’s old high school.