12/16/2014 11:52 am ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

5 Ways to Deal With the College Kids Coming Home

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It's that remarkable time of year parents of college kids have been looking forward to with excitement and just a little bit of trepidation. While we can't wait to see our kids when they are home for holiday vacation, we are also not exactly clear what to expect, how they've changed and how they will react to being home. Because I would really like to help you with this process and because I have both been through it and watched hundreds of parents and their college student kids also go through it, I would like to let you know what to expect.

5 Things To Expect

1. Your kids are likely to have gained at least some portion of "the freshman 15." I remember gaining the "freshman 15" and being very embarrassed by it. It's no picnic (no pun intended). Your kids are staying up late, ordering pizza at night and raiding the vending machines while they are studying. They are also eating to help them stay up and study into the wee hours of the night. In other words, they may be looking to food rather than to sleep to provide them with much-needed energy. I strongly suggest not mentioning their weight gain. I can assure you that they are painfully aware of it.

2. When they come home for the holidays following a whole host of exams, they will be tremendously sleep-deprived and will probably want to sleep in for a few days. Let them do this. They are in the comfort of their own homes and their own beds and there is nothing quite like hibernating in bed for a few days until they fell good again. In other words, I am suggesting that you not wake them up unnecessarily. They will be grateful to you for this. I promise.

3. Your college kids will probably come home with what I love to refer to as the "sophomoric attitude." Suddenly, they seem a little affected and seem to know everything. Listen patiently to them even while they display this style. It too shall pass, and there is no reason for arguing or setting them straight. The goal of the time home is to reconnect and for things to be harmonious, right? Eventually, most of us learn that we don't know everything and we give up our affectations.

4. The kids are used to staying out late and being accountable to no one. Here, I feel that when they are home they should follow your rules. They may want to argue with you on this one, but hold your ground. Home is home and YOU set the rules. Got me on this one? Safety is your number one priority.


5. They may want to spend lots of time catching up with their high school friends to both catch up and compare notes. This is an important rite of passage. Please don't take it too personally that they don't want to spend all of their time with you. Just know that hey are doing what they are expected to be doing.

Have a lovely holiday season and enjoy all of your kids!