If your college student is living at home, they need to start pulling their own weight. If they are to be ready for the real world, we have to start treating them like adults. The easiest way to do so is by giving a contract to your college student living at home.
If we don’t treat them like adults, how can we expect them to start acting like one? These contracts are a great way to tell your college student that they are in the real world now.
Nothing is worse than a student that gets babied in college by their parents and then enters the real world vulnerable and dependent.
Although it may seem strict, a contract is a great way to tell your children you are serious about their responsibilities, whether financial, educational, or physical.
These kinds of contracts are known as housing contracts. You provide them housing in return they provide something in return. Some parents only request they keep their grades to a certain level while others expect them to pay rent.
I will break down each part of the contract and include a PDF of the contract so that you can print it for their signature.
Name ___________________ Email ________________________________________
Phone Number ____________ Address ______________________________________
The first part of this contract is to make things clear that you are serious. Obviously you already know their name, phone number, and address. The primary reason for this first section is communicating to your college student that you are serious about this contract and are keeping it professional.
This may very likely be the most important part of this contract. Set clear house rules for you and your family that they will be expected to follow. Don’t be too strict, after all, they are in college and will likely be looking to enjoy these years.
Some of the rules I have in my household are:
- No guests after 11:00 pm.
- No sleepovers without prior permission
- No loud noise after 10:00 pm.
- Common areas are to be cleaned after use (bathroom, kitchen, etc.).
- No smoking inside or within 20ft of the home.
- Do not use the things of others without permission first.
You will need to hold them responsible for these rules so don’t be unreasonable. As you can see, these rules are more than reasonable and should not be difficult to follow. If they reach out asking for an exception, consider it. On the other hand, if they break a rule without any warning, you’ll need to discipline them.
The consequence of breaking a house rule is:
This is where you make it clear what the consequences of breaking the house rules are. Be very careful with what consequences you set. because you’ll have to follow through. If you don’t you’ll just be undermining the whole point of having a contract.
Also when making consequences remember this is a college student. You shouldn’t be grounding someone at that age. Treat them like an adult and implement adult consequences.
Set fair rules and fair consequences than actually do what you say you’re going to do when the rules are followed: Here is an example of the consequences we have set in our household when my daughter was in college:
“The first offense in a 30-day rolling period is a warning. The second offense will result in a suspension of the abused activity for two weeks. The third offense will result in an eviction notice.”
This may sound harsh but remember the time for babying them is over. My daughter would sometimes forget to turn down her music by 10:00 pm. The first time was no big deal, we just had a conversation.
The second time she did I would tell her she has lost her music playing privileges for two weeks. We never actually got to this point, the conversation we had after the first offense would do the job.
Unfortunately, if we would have gotten to the third offense, I would have delivered an eviction notice to her.
Feel free to make your consequences as harsh or lenient as you’d like. The important part is to remember that you’ll have to follow through if they break the house rules.
The “other expectations” portion of the contract is for you to set other expectations you have for your college student living at home.
This is a good place to discuss grades, chores, and other things you expect them to do in order to earn their place in your home.
Here is what we had on my daughter’s contract:
“You are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA with 12 or more credits each semester.”
Because we wanted her to focus on school, the only “expectation” we had for her was to keep her grades at a certain level.
In reality, you could make your expectations anything. Other parents might require their children to start paying rent while some might require their children to do a list of chores along with their school work.
No one knows your family as you do. Use your knowledge of your child to find a balance between them pulling their weight while still having the freedom to enjoy these years.
This part of the contract (like the first part) is to show the student that you are serious about the contract. Print this document out, fill out your part, and sign under “homeowner”. Then take the document to them and have them sign under “other party”.
You now have a contract for your college student living at home.
Final Thoughts on Contract for College Student Living at Home
Many parents make the mistake of continuing to treat their children like, well, children. We can’t expect them to start acting like an adult until we start treating them like an adult.
Some might think this is a bit extreme and it actually might be. If you have a mature college student that you feel is beginning to act like an adult, this might not be necessary.
Use a contract for college students that are living at home and are not showing signs of maturity.