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How to Not Feel Like a Child In Your Childhood Home

My first winter break back home as a freshman was jarring. I went from experiencing months of my own independence to feeling like I was 15 years old again. As the semester ends and break begins, it’s time to step back into my childhood bedroom. That means snuggling up with my old stuffed animals and detesting the color I decided to paint my room when I was 10. For those of us lucky enough to go back home over the break, settling back into our childhood bedrooms can be a jolt to the system.

I was relieved to hear many people also feel this way when they head back home for a break. It’s completely normal to feel as if you’ve lost the sense of self you developed on campus while living under your parents’ roof. Hopefully, these tips can help bring some of that independence back.

Communicate With Your Parents

Talk to your parents to try to get them to understand how you’re feeling. This conversation should have an end goal of ways in which they can help you feel like an adult at home: what boundaries need to be set so your freedom isn’t infringed upon, what privacies do you need and what do your parents think is best for you? After all, you are still living in their house and it is not unreasonable for you to respect their wishes –– they’re getting used to having another child at home again, which can be tough. Work as hard as you can to come to a middle ground that makes you all feel comfortable.

Cook Your Own Meals

One way to take responsibility for yourself is to cook your own meals while you’re at home. Even if you love your parents’ meals or hate cooking for yourself,  preparing your own meals can make you feel in charge! Go grocery shopping for yourself and whip up your own breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can even cook for your parents and siblings, if you have them, to bring some adult responsibilities into your childhood home. You could also split cooking days with your parents to balance things out.

Set Your Own Routine

Establishing your own schedule in your childhood house can also make you feel in control of your own life –– whether you do that by waking up at 8 a.m. and going for a run or waking up at 3 p.m. to watch TikTok is up to you.

Block out times to stay in your room and practice a hobby, or leave the house to sit in a park for a few hours. Even setting up a hammock in the park for a couple of hours can be a great way to clear your head and get some fresh air. A great way to stay busy is to get an in-person job so that you have an excuse to be somewhere at a specific time –– it can make you feel more like an adult!

Clear Out That Junk

When I left for college, I tried to clear out the junk in my room to the best of my abilities, but I still ended up leaving some stuff behind. Now when I go home, it feels like I’ve stepped back into the mind of my 12-year-old self that liked to hoard plastic glasses and half-used lotion bottles. 

Start your organizational journey by donating those neglected clothes. If you haven’t worn it in the past year, you’re probably never going to wear it again. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and throw out those old tchotchkes you’ve been hoarding since you were 6 years old –– this will help free up lots of space for new items. If you organize just one drawer a day, you’ll find yourself with a clean bedroom that feels much more “adult.”

Time To Redecorate

As your interests and styles change, so should your bedroom. Take down those old posters and photos of people you don’t talk to anymore. Rearrange the layout of your room so it feels different. Stick up some new decorations and de-clutter your walls. Throw up some LED lights so you can pick what color your room is. Even if you’re just home for the holidays, it’s worth the time and energy to make your room feel like yours. 

Upgrade Your Bed

The most important part of your bedroom is arguably your bed, so it’s important that you feel comfortable in it. It’s time to kick your twin mattress to the curb and size up to a larger bed. I decided to update my bed by replacing my old comforter with my new one from college –– it makes me feel a little more grown up, and sometimes I forget I’m waking up in my childhood bed. 

English major | Class of 2023
Olivia Cohen is a Communication student at The Ohio State University.
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