After living by your own rules all year, a sudden return to family life can conjure many stresses and strains. Some tips to survive!

The academic year is over and for many students that means moving back home for three months. After living by your own rules all year, a sudden return to family life can conjure many stresses and strains. But play it smart and you’ll find there are plenty of upsides.

Give a bit back – asap

Start off on the right foot. Do your bit around the house and it’ll create a lasting impression on your return home. Be breezy, energetic and helpful. Brownie points safely amassed, this will work wonders in the coming weeks when you roll home late and have lost your door key. Think of it as an investment.

Feed them a plan

The chances are you’ll be bombarded with the usual barrage of ‘What are you going to do with yourself all summer?’, ‘You’ve got to get a job, you know?’ and ‘Don’t you think you should be making better use of your time?’ Cut these interrogation sessions dead before they snowball. Have your answers ready. Concoct a plan. One that has plenty of variables in it to give you flex later on but also one that shows you’re on the ball and in control of your own destiny. The questions will soon run dry, if they ever flow at all.

Get fit and healthy

Away from the buzz of uni, this could be a great chance to recharge, eat well and feel super-healthy again. Making more of an effort to go for a run or hit the gym, or even just do some yoga in the park on a sunny Saturday morning, will get you out of the house and give yourself some much needed ‘me time’. A bit of regular space for everyone is likely to help you get along much better through the summer months.

Land yourself a fun job

You need to reboot over summer but you also want to earn a bit of money for a holiday or to take back into next year. Look for a job that will give you a new or different experience.

It might not even be local to your home town. A four-week stint working at a holiday park on the coast, for example, might be just what you need. It gives you a break from home life, opens up your network and, while it may lack the big bucks, it’ll give you some amazing stories to tell.

Play cupid

It’s their summer too. Your parents would love a night out or even a weekend away to lap up the balmy evenings with a glass of vino in a nice restaurant. They might just need a nudge in the right direction so drop a few less-than-subtle hints. It’ll make them more relaxed and happy, and you can invite some mates over for a cheap and cheerful bring-your-own house party.

Energise the parent network

Similarly, your parents could do with reconnecting with a few of their own friends. Start working their contacts through your mates, suggest a joint family outing or mini break. You might want to stay home and do your own thing, or you could end up going on a brilliant holiday.

And finally… Make the most of it

It’s easy to focus on the bad things – the nags, the intrusions of privacy and the return to archaic house rules – but look beyond that and you’ll soon remember there’s some pretty good benefits too.

Embrace the home-cooked meals, dad’s ritualistic takeaway curry on a Saturday night, the free transport, family banter and a cosy warm bed with immaculate sheets. Whatever it is, come September these things will be back in short supply. Enjoy!

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