Contributor: Dr. Kristen Race

Transitions can be difficult for kids. Even when they are excited for school, this time of year is often mixed with feelings of angst about how they will fit in socially and academically.

And for parents, there are the endless lists of to-dos, from school supplies, to back to school shopping, sports physicals, band sign-ups, volunteer requests, and who is going to organize the carpool from school to soccer practice? 

Whether you are fighting back tears over the thought of sending your first child off to kindergarten or you are counting the days until your 14-year-old gets some structure back into their life, back to school season can be a stressful time for kids and parents.

Here are some back to school tips to ease the transition for all. 

#1: Go On a Date

Schedule a lunch, ice cream, or hike with each of you kids. Use this time to talk about the highs of the summer, what they are looking forward to this year in school and anything they might me concerned about. Collaborate on a plan for how to best tackle homework, busy schedules, getting back to a regular sleeping schedule while you are both in a positive state of mind, rather than trying to problem solve after the school year start rolling.  

#2: Take Advantage of Technology

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt like the last mom on the planet to buy school supplies as my kids and I would scour the aisles of a big box store searching for one last box of sharpened #2 pencils. Take the pressure off by ordering supplies online – or better yet, let your kids do this for you! 

#3: Establish Connections

Help your kids set up a play date with other children who will be in their class. This can ease some of that Who will I sit with at lunch? anxiety and generate excitement about the new year. Also, check if your school hosts any events where your child will have an opportunity to meet their teachers.   

#4: Be Mindful of Their Schedule

If you have kids under 10 try to pick at least one afternoon a week where no one has any after school activities. This downtime is critical for healthy brain development and will ease the stress of the constant runaround. Use these days to get a start on that long-term project, go to the park, make a nice dinner together, or just hang out and relax. 

#5: Create a Family Command Center

My husband totally ridiculed this idea when our architect designed this space in our new house, but now that we have it, he has changed his tune! Having a designated space for each family member to keep important documents, permission slips, sports schedules, and a place to put devices can help avoid a lot of anxiety when you are trying to locate something as your are trying to get out the door for school! 

How did you and your family prepare for back to school season? Share in the comments below!

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