Back-to-school season can be overwhelming and downright stressful—even though it happens every year! But, as with most things, if you plan ahead, it’s feasible to successfully support your kids (and keep your sanity!) as you move from the lazy days of summer to the more structured schedule of school.

Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you do just that:

Start the Transition Early

If at all possible, start easing back into the “school schedule” a week or two prior to school actually starting. Make sure bedtimes are established (and adhered to), and start waking up, getting dressed, and eating breakfast at the times you’ll expect to during the school year. It’s also helpful if the whole family is following the new schedule! Let your kids see that you’re all preparing to go through this transition together, and that the changes you’re making are beneficial for everyone. By getting into the flow you’ll follow during the school year early, you can work out any kinks ahead of time, and the whole family will feel comfortable when the actual transition takes place.

Plan Your Shopping Trips

Shopping can often be stressful—and even more so during the weeks before kids head back to school. Make the process less anxiety-inducing by planning ahead. Sit down with your kids and your Day Designer, and list out what they’ll need heading into the new school year. You may be able to consult a helpful list from a new teacher or you may have to stick to the essentials (pencils, notebooks, a new pair of jeans). But either way, when you have planned ahead—knowing exactly what your children need and where they need it from—you can make your shopping trips easier, more efficient, and far less likely to make you want to hide under the covers until next summer!

Anticipate Anxiety

The thought of heading back to school can cause some anxiety for your children—and for you. Do what you can to help your kids prepare for the transition by talking about the new people, situations, and lessons they may experience. Ask them if they have any questions or if there’s anything they’re nervous about. Encourage your kids to share what they’re worried about, and let them know that you’re offering a safe space where they can share anything that’s coming up for them—whether it seems silly or serious. And instead of trying to reassure them that everything will be okay—which, unfortunately, isn’t something we can plan for—plan together how you will solve the problem if it does occur!

Enlist the Kids

Any new school year comes with a lot of new responsibilities, and it can be helpful if your kids are already used to taking on responsibilities of their own. If they haven’t begun already, make sure they understand the importance of personal responsibility and accountability—whether that means keeping up with their chores, packing their lunches, or putting away their clothes every night. It’s easy (and totally understandable) to take a more relaxed attitude toward things during the summer—which is why it can be helpful to enlist your kids in taking on added responsibility early, before the school year starts again.

Plan “Lazy Days”

Going back to school can be overwhelming, especially if you and your children are used to the more relaxed pace of summer. Get out your planner and mark a handful of days in those first few months of the school year that will be spent however you want—doing an outdoor activity as a family, visiting the library, or simply just lying around the house reading your favorite books or taking naps. When you don’t feel that you have to go-go-go all the time, it can be easier to accept (and even appreciate) the many moments when you do.

Stay tuned for our next post on Family, Work, Volunteering: How To Find The Right Balance. In the meantime, shop for your 2018 daily planner—or choose a Midyear edition to get started now! Plus, sign up for our FREE 30 Days To Your Best You challenge.

How are you preparing for a successful back-to-school season? Share your top tips with us in the comments below!