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The annual transition from summer vacation back to school is a difficult time for most children, but  it can be an equally stressful period for parents. If you’re like most, you may be worried about how your kids will transition to a new grade. Read on for some practical things you can do to prepare your child for the school year—and set your mind at ease.

  • Re-establish routines – By setting a regular bedtime and mealtime for your children, you prepare them for the structured schedule they will need to follow at school. Begin the routine a few weeks in advance, so they are wide awake for breakfast on the first day of school.
  • Freeze a few dinners – Keep a couple of meals in your freezer for the first few weeks of school. This way you won’t have to stress about cooking and will have more time to spend with your kids.
  • Create a homework space – Designate and clear a special area where your children will be able to do their homework in peace. During the weeks leading up to school, consider offering crafts or projects they can do area to help them get used to working there.
  • Attend parent-teacher night – Take the time to visit with your children’s teachers so you know what to expect in the coming year.
  • Clear your own schedule – As the big day approaches, be prepared to spend time with your children when they need it. Postpone any business trips or major projects until the school year is underway so that you can be there for your children when they want to talk about how they feel.
  • Be enthusiastic – The best thing you can do for your children is to be excited about the new school year. When you are confident, your children will be confident, too.

While preparing your children for the first day of school can really help their transition, it is only part of the equation. Especially during the first few weeks, set aside time each night to talk about how your children are feeling about school and positively reinforce the experiences they’ve had—this will help your children adjust to their new grade.