How to Help Your Students Through the Holidays
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By Elana Goodwin, Uloop
The holidays are usually a time for family to come together and celebrate — but sometimes, college students are unable for some reason or other to go home for the holidays. Perhaps they are studying abroad or they attend college too far away for them to fly home at a reasonable cost.
Whatever the case may be, even if your child cannot come home to be with the family for the holiday, you can still help them through the holidays so they do not feel like they are missing out on too much. Here are some tips on how to help your college student through the upcoming holidays.
Send a Care Package
If your student cannot come home for the holidays, send the holidays to them! Put together a care package to mail to your child to show them you are thinking of them and want them to still have a good holiday even if you are not together. Of course, if your student is studying abroad, this may be more difficult to manage but if they just attend college far away, send them a box of holiday-related stuff to help them have their own celebration.
Perhaps they love your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or Christmas cookies. Maybe your family has a tradition to watch a certain movie during the holidays. Send them the recipes, ingredients, cookies, or DVD movie in a care package! You can also send them a card or two in the package, along with some holiday decorations, and some family photos so they can use your items in their own holiday observance and make them feel more at home.
It is often hard for students to get through the holidays when they know their whole family is getting together and celebrating back home without them. To help them get through not being able to spend the holidays with their family, try to increase communication with them throughout the course of the holiday.
That means calling the day of and night before to talk to them and having them talk to all the members of the family there for the holidays, FaceTiming them so they feel like they are somewhat present and included in your celebration, and just otherwise reaching out and attempting to involve them in the at-home goings-on from afar.
With so much technology available today, staying in contact and making your student feel like they are not really missing out on the holidays at home has never been easier.
Of course, while it might be upsetting for your student and you that they cannot come home for the holidays, there are alternatives they can consider when it comes to holiday plans. Perhaps they can go home with a roommate or friend at college or abroad if their family lives closer and is willing to include them in their holiday celebrations. Maybe you have extended family that lives closer to the college that they can instead go to for the holidays rather than coming home. These options will allow them to not be alone on the holidays and feel as if they are part of a family celebration.
Additionally, if those alternatives will not work out, they could volunteer or work during the holidays; there are often charities that welcome and need volunteers to help out and some employers do not close for all of the holiday.
Lastly, your child is likely not the only one who is unable to go home or celebrate the holidays with family, whether they are at school or abroad. Encourage your student to be proactive and get together with other friends and students who are not able to go home and host a holiday potluck or go out for a holiday dinner together. This way, not only with they not be alone for the holidays but they will also help other students not feel alone and make their own celebration.
In fact, some colleges even host their own holiday dinners for students who cannot make it home to attend. So if your child does not want to organize their own dinner, they can just go with friends to the school’s and then go back to their dorm, apartment, or house, and continue the holiday festivities with just their friends.
While it will be difficult for both you and your child to not spend the holidays together this year, you can use these ideas to help your student get through the upcoming holidays from afar. And remember, there will be many more holiday celebrations in the future that your child will be able to come home for and spend with family — but this could be a great opportunity for them to do something different for the holidays and perhaps even start a new tradition or two.
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