Ready, set... School!

Ten tips for a smooth transition.

By GreatSchools Staff

Calm first day fears

Help your child imagine her first day of school. Talk about what it will be like, what could go wrong (and how to deal with it), and what she's excited or worried about.

Start taming your night owl

Nudge your child into an early-bird routine well before the first day of school. Bumping back his bed and wake time by a few minutes every day for two weeks before school starts will make the first day of school less painful. Sleep is vital: kids ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, teens need 8.5 to 9 hours!


Avoid first-day fiascoes

Kids have trouble getting going in the morning? Hold a "dress rehearsal" the week before school starts. If it doesn't go well the first day, try again every morning until they get into the swing of it. Once your kids master the habit of laying out their clothes and shoes at night, adjusting to a school-day routine will be as easy as A, B, C.

Shape up

Take time for a health refresher before the school year starts. If your kids have fallen into unhealthy habits over the summer — like too much snacking and too litte exercise — brainstorm ways to improve your family's health habits. More ideas for healthy living.


A clean, well-lighted place for homework

Help avoid homework hassles by creating a comfortable and well-organized study space for your student, with all the supplies he'll need close at hand. Enlist your child's help when arranging and decorating the space, so he'll have a sense of ownership.


Manage morning madness

If mornings are a mad dash, save your nerves by getting up a little earlier. Plan for bathroom time, breakfast and lunch preparation, getting dressed, and whatever else your kids need time for — from saying goodbye to beloved stuffies to getting their hair just right. More ways to beat the morning rush.


Lighten their load

Does your child's backpack feels like it's filled with bricks? A solution: buy second-hand copies of the same textbooks (they're usually easy to find online). She'll have a copy of each textbook at home and at school, and won't have to lug them back and forth.

What's for lunch?

Say good bye to smelly lunch boxes and soggy lunch bags. Start the school year off right with these fashionable and planet-friendly alternatives.


Do your part

Most schools rely on parent support to run smoothly, so pitch in when you can. If your school has a PTA (Parent Teacher Association), consider joining. Talk to other parents about volunteer opportunities at your child's school, and find one that fits your schedule.


Pass the stress test

Exercise is an incredible stress reducer, so develop a ritual of after-dinner walks, tossing a softball with your child after school, or even taking a yoga class with your child. Find out more about how stress adversely affects your child's brain — and how exercise can help.