Check in with your college student over break

Checking in with college students

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Your college student might be home for the holidays, and experts say now’s the time to check in on their mental health and reconnect.

“You have to let them have their wings, and you have to let them go. But you have to let them know that you’re here for them still,” said Robin Koetting, a mother of a college student.

It’s a break from life on campus or a college students new normal.

“They’re navigating life completely on their own when they’ve always had a parent or other people, teachers or whatever to help them along the way, and here they are," said Koetting.

While Koetting’s freshman daughter’s managing college really well, she said now’s a good time to check in with your kids.

“When she’s home, that’s when you get to see her face and get to see how’s she acting, is she normal, is she treating her sister the same way, is she herself or is she struggling with something that we’re not seeing, because I’m not there every day,” she said.

“It is important that parents have a connection with their kids over break," said Janice Ruesler, Director of Counseling and Disability Services at Southeast Missouri State University.

According to Ruesler, students tell her they want quality time with family over break.

“And for their family to also respect the independence that they found while they were students," said Ruesler.

She recommends finding a balance between asking questions and giving them space.

“How are things this semester? What did you enjoy? How did you get connected, and what are you looking forward to next semester? If a student answers that they’re not really looking forward to coming back to school, that should be a warning sign for a parent," she said.

For Koetting, it’s a time she looks forward to.

“Being able to come home and just have her there and be present in our family has been really nice," she said.

Ruesler also recommends focusing on the positives and to not be judgmental, as college kids routines are different now than their routines at home.

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