Ease your children back into their school schedule with these parent-tested tips.
Step 1: Reset their body clock
If your children have been staying up late and sleeping in all summer, reset their body clocks: Starting two weeks before school, send them to bed a little bit earlier every night -- and get them up a little earlier every morning -- until they're back on a school-day schedule.
Get them used to the impending morning rush by planning early-morning activities they'll want to jump out of bed for.
Step 2: Take them shopping
Take them shopping for school supplies and, if your budget permits, a few new back-to-school clothes. Let them have a say in the selection process to get them excited about the return to the classroom.
Step 3: Prepare their work area
Help them prepare the area where they'll be doing their homework, especially if they seem anxious about the upcoming year. Having a clean, organized space with some new supplies may help ease their nerves -- and might even get them excited about a fresh start.
Surprise them with a new electronic gadget that can be used to do homework. Check out websites like eBay and Craigslist for bargains.
Step 4: Set up playdates
Set up playdates with school friends they haven't seen all summer to remind them that the school year has its fun side.
If you're child is starting at a new school, see if it's possible to have them meet their new teacher before the school year starts.
Step 5: Cook ahead
Make double batches of meals now so you can quickly defrost dinner during those first hectic days.
Step 6: Tamp down your own fears
Keep any of your own anxieties about the upcoming school year to yourself. Children take their lead from you; if you seem composed, it may alleviate their own fears.
Did You Know?
Up to 18 percent of children display anxiety over returning to school in the fall that can lead them to be disruptive in class, according to one study.