Tips for Parents
A summer bucket list for college students and families
Will your student live at home this summer?
Along with the adjustments (see “Summer with your college student — Part 1” for tips on easing re-entry) there are opportunities to have fun and grow closer. College parents share their best fun and easy bucket list ideas to help you make the most of a short, sweet season.
1. Welcome your student home with clean sheets and new hangers in the closet.
2. “The past few summer breaks I’ve drawn up a big family calendar,” says Amy, mother of three students in high school and college. “As soon as we know what we’re doing, we all put our schedules on it. This makes it easier to see what days are ‘free’ so we can plan bucket list outings.”
3. Make a point of going to that bucket list place you’ve had your eye on for years but never seem to find the time.
4. Plant window boxes or a vegetable garden. At summer’s end, transplant herbs to indoor pots, including one for your student to take back to campus if she’ll be doing her own cooking.
5. Make dinner together now and then. Let your student pick his favorite home-cooked meals — you can teach him how to cook them and start compiling a recipe file for after graduation.
6. Every summer bucket list for families with college students should include a drive-in movie!
7. Take on a new bucket list challenge together. “After she started college, my daughter Katie and I started running a half marathon every summer,” says Kathleen of Boston. “Training runs mean we spend time together even when we’re both busy with other things. She just graduated but I hope we’ll keep up the tradition for years to come!”
8. Bucket lists should be yummy. Over the course of the summer, sample and assign a grade to every (yes, every) flavor at a local independent ice cream shop. “Coconut Almond Joy won with an A-,” says college dad Brien after completing the “report card” with son Quinn.
10. Take a family photo so you have one for a holiday card at the end of the year.
11. Volunteer together. “For years, our whole family has ushered at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival,” says Eliot of Boulder, Colorado. “We hand out programs and tear tickets, then watch the plays for free.”
12. Return to a few of the simple traditions — hikes, bike rides, a meal at a favorite local restaurant — that rekindle family connections and create new shared memories.
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