College kids are heading home for the holidays. Or, shall we call this dizzying end-of-year a “holidaze”?

It’s a time for celebration and yule-tide greetings. And there’s another “Tide” you’ll want to keep close by… the liquid detergent, perhaps. A heaping load of laundry is the first thing to spill out of the duffle bag.

However, other unpacked items hold just as much weight, if not more.

You see, aside from frozen pizzas and ramen noodle dinners, Millennials carry with them real-life pressure cookers. As growing research suggests — bouncing from a college dorm back to the “parental norm”  shakes up routines, rules, and their sense of independence.

Lighten the Load: Putting Homecoming On A Delicate Cycle



The Higher Education Research Institute reports up to 37 percent of college-bound students are living as far as 500 miles away from home.

Yet, distance isn’t the only hurdle in their life or even that of their parents.

  • Nationally, 55 percent of college students claim that academics is their biggest stressor.
  • It’s also not uncommon for them to cut off communications with friends, especially when feeling particularly overwhelmed.
  • And does the buck stop there? No. With tuition becoming more and more expensive, parents view college as a huge investment. Knowing this, Millennials feel obligated to report home on anything and everything that’s going on.

So, instead of forced dialogue, how can the holiday break do just what it implies? Break the cycle of expectations, and instead, give family talk the space to flow – merrily and effortlessly?

Say “Hello” To Our Family Friendly Holiday Tips


THE WASH CYCLE – know your body language.

Much like a coin-operated washing machine, it’s obvious if it’s in use or not. Be transparent beginning with the awareness of our non-verbal cues.

  • Parents and Millennials think about how you’re sitting, the angle of your head, and where your hands are. If that sounds too technical, here’s a trick…According to some scientists, there’s a neuron that affects part of the brain responsible for recognition of faces and facial expressions. When subconsciously mirroring another person’s body language, it sends a trustworthy signal that says, “I’m just like you. I feel the same.” So, if they lean to the left, you lean to the right. Give it a try!

THE RINSE CYCLE – know your family chatter.

Mismatched socks aren’t meant to be worn together. The same goes for words and phrases that spark the big ‘D’: defensiveness.

According to Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, director of Hofstra University’s Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, “parents often speak ‘at’ their children. We are anxious to get our points across and believe we are experts at life… the best way to open up conversation is to ask questions and really listen to the answers.”

  • Parents and Millennials talk ‘to’ each other. Instead of lecturing and making “should” the driver of the conversation, drench your words in curiosity.

Trade statements for questions which lead with: who, what, when, where, why, and how. It provides more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reply, requires deeper thinking (and therefore engagement), and often cancels out reactive response(s).

THE SPIN CYCLE – know your surroundings.

The laundromat just got a little quieter. With digital timers and barely audible run cycles, wash and wear has gone high-tech. Family conversations can operate just as smoothly.

It all begins with our internal clocks. More connection is afforded with the right amount of exercise, sleep, and diet. College students, fresh off midterms, need this opportunity to recharge. A stocked kitchen with all their favorite snacks and the comforts of home bring smiles and conversational ice breakers.

  • Parents and Millennials – don’t forget to put away your phones and tablets. Find a quiet space, without the holiday hoopla, to simply enjoy the moment. Environment influences our senses just as much as word play. So, be sure to just ‘be’… slowing the pace invites relaxation and melts away the tension of the day. This is where honesty, vulnerability, and understanding makes spirits (and conversations) bright.


Conversations are so much more than just spoken words and face-to-face dialogue. Learn the innovative ways that Hello is addressing generational conversational challenges across all aspects of life. Click here to learn more.