Tips for Transitioning Winter Break with your Student

WP Winter Break Conversations

The time off during winter break can be an adjustment for the entire family. Your student is probably feeling a great sense of relief now that final exams have wrapped up, but they may need some down time between semesters. Determining how your student wants to spend their break can be difficult, so we asked current Mason students to tell us a little more about how they are feeling during winter break.

What is one thing you want to do over winter break?
Every student we spoke with mentioned that the perfect winter break consists of time spent relaxing after a busy semester, while also spending time with family and friends. A Mason sophore and Mason junior had the following to say about how they would like to spend winter break:

“Sleep, but also mix it with a balance of feeling productive. I like catching up on sleep for my well-being, but I also want to feel productive for sanity’s sake. “

“I want to spend a lot of time with my family over winter break. We don’t need to do a lot of planned activities I just want to be able to see them and spend some time with them like the times before I left for school.”

What is one thing you want your family to know about how you feel entering winter break?
Students want their families to know they are just wrapping up a stressful few weeks and may want to have some quiet time to decompress. Students also want you to understand that they are developing a new independence and may want to interact differently at home. A sophomore here at Mason had the following insight on adjusting to time at home:

“While it may be exciting that I’m home, I still want to feel some independence while I’m there for Winter Break. After spending so much time at school looking after myself, I just don’t want my parents to feel like they need to do my laundry, cook all my meals, or clean everything for me. I can understand the need for it but it can be a little overwhelming.”

If your families are wondering what you want to do over break, what would you like them to do?
All of the students we spoke with expressed that they just want to be asked what they want to do over break. Instead of over-planning because your student has additional free time, or avoiding planning activities because you are not sure how your student feels, open the lines of communication and discuss your student’s expectations over break.

We hope these tips are helpful as you transition to some additional free time with your student! Communication and understanding is key to enjoying a restful and fun winter break.

Kristen Wright
Graduate Assistant, Family Programs and Services
Orientation and Family Programs and Services