Weekend at Home

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The first day of college marks the automatic fall break countdown. Students live for long weekends that provide a significant pause from the noise of university life. For the past few weeks your son or daughter has lived independently. Free from curfews, a higher authority, and bedtimes. The college motto goes something like this “I’ll take care of me, you take care of you, and everyone is happy”. Family systems differ from these independent routines.  Don’t waste limited time fighting over petty misunderstandings with your son or daughter during a long weekend. Read through the following Do’s and Don’ts of weekends at home to keep the peace and provide the perfect college getaway for a maxed out college student.

Don’t:

  • Don’t inquire. At least for the first few hours at home, keep the conversation light and allow your son or daughter to lead with information. Definitely do not ask about grades, exams, or stressors. A break from school is also a break from the constant GPA monitor that is programmed in your son or daughter’s brain.
  • Don’t order out. Hot homemade food is the best cure for grouchiness, weariness, and exhaustion.
  • Don’t wake up your son or daughter even if it has been a full 12 hours since he or she has emerged from the cave. A well rested student is a happy student.
  • Don’t plan out the weekend without your son or daughter’s input. Limited time at home means a limited time with high school friends. Be considerate of reunions.

Do:

  • Gently reinforce family expectations. From curfews to chores, it is best to give notice up front that dirty dishes must be put in the dishwasher.
  • Set aside family time in advance. Friends or significant others factor into precious weekend hours, but a tentative family schedule will help your son or daughter coordinate dates with ease.
  • Encourage. Words of affirmation and loving actions are greatly appreciated. Stock up on favorite snacks and sweet words. It will do a world of good.
  • Be patient. Sometimes, the perfect weekend means lounging in pajamas and watching movies all day. Throw on your PJ’s and join the film fest.
  • Recognize outlets. It is hard to find time to be creative, musical, or athletic at college. Setting aside time for these activities boosts self-esteem and satisfaction.

College is stressful, but home shouldn’t be. Your hard working son or daughter will greatly appreciate your wisdom in tactfully dealing with mini hibernations, movie marathons, and abandoned dirty dishes.

 

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College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

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Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection.

College hunting: The Excel File

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College hunting is serious business. State of the art gyms and dining commons have allure, but do the academic challenges rise above? Use one Excel file to keep yourself in line and organize deal breakers and shiny attractions of the Universities at the top of your list. Then, navigate overwhelming University websites with ease and focus. These tips will leave you calm, cool, and collected in the midst of accumulating brochures and looming decisions.

Making time for your Kids

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Developing a strategy for becoming a better dad can sound like a big joke. To use the term “busy dad” in the current world is really an understatement. A lot of us dads have a difficult time trying to balance our professional or personal demands against spending valuable time with the wife and kids too. Just because your schedule is tight should not mean that you are destined to fail as a parent. 

Happy Cheesecake to You!

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Let’s start with one basic birthday rule: do not call your baby first thing in the morning with a joyous round of “Happy Birthday” from the family. It may have been effective in high school but you must utilize a new technique for college students who guard their R.E.M. sleep the way you guarded your daughter at prom.

The unfortunate aspect of college birthday celebrations is that they are built around deadlines, work, and friends’ schedules. As a result, festivities may not commence on your daughter’s actual birthday. Beat those triple threat delayers with the following techniques to ensure an unforgettable birthday…on the actual day of her birth.

College Costs HOW Much?! Financial Aid Tips to Prevent You from Losing Your Mind

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Today, two-thirds of college students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and the average borrower graduates with close to $27,000 in debt!  Right now, the standard repayment schedule is 10 years – meaning that your kids will likely have kids of their own before their college tuition is paid for!

Wouldn’t it be nice to help them come up with a payment plan that doesn’t need to be paid back (and, no, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, suddenly agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or going on a bank robbing spree).
 
Instead, your kids can get scholarships and grants.  Neither has to be paid back.  But to get them, you (and your kids) will have to do some work now, before they head off to school.
 
To make things easier, try some of these tips!
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