Starting a new school year can be exciting (and sometimes stressful!) for kids and parents alike. Between shopping, new schedules and everything we do to prepare for the big first day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are a few ways to help families ease the transition from the lazy days of summer to early mornings and hitting the books.

Focus on Health
Back-to-school season is the perfect time to schedule your child’s yearly physical, eye exam and hearing test. Health experts recommend checking a child’s height and weight at least annually to make sure they are growing appropriately for their age. Tell teachers and the school nurse about any allergies to food or medication your child may have. And remind kids to wash their hands frequently to combat exposure to germs at school.

Talk About Schedules
Whether your child is in elementary school or a high school student juggling after school sports and a part-time job, it’s important to find out his or her schedule. Discuss any clubs your child may want to join and be sure they aren’t overscheduled. Study time, playing with friends and downtime is important, too! Asking older kids about carpooling with other parents and students can alleviate the burden of transportation and helps children feel involved.

Eat Smart
Begin the first day of school (and every day) with a balanced breakfast. Running late and skipping breakfast can make it difficult for children to concentrate. A balanced breakfast such as eggs with whole grain toast and fruit provides the protein and energy kids need to do well in class. Packing a healthy lunch and plenty of water is another way to keep children feeling refreshed and alert throughout the day.

Practice Your Routine
Plan and practice your back-to-school routine a couple of days in advance. Begin by having children go to sleep around the time they would on a school night, wake up with an alarm clock, get ready in the morning and arrive at the bus stop on time. Establishing a routine and practicing it with children will help them feel more comfortable on the first day of school.

Let’s face it. Making the transition from summer break to a new school year isn’t easy. But with a little planning, preparation and communication, we can help kids make this year their best ever!