Many parents dread the end of summer. Kids are reluctant to get back into the routine of early mornings, structured days and the homework that school brings. Many parents are also reluctant to get back into the routine of early mornings, structured days and homework!

Whether your child is returning to pre-school, elementary school or middle school, here are 10 tips to help make the transition back to school a success.

1. Scale Back the Bedtime Hour - It’s easy in the summer to let bedtime slide a little later. About three weeks before school begins start scaling back bedtime so that by the end of the third week your child is rising at the same time s/he will have to get up for school. (It takes about 3 weeks for the body to adapt to a new sleep schedule.)

For instance, if you’ve been putting your child to bed at 9 p.m., the first week put him/her to bed about 15 minutes earlier at 8:45. The next week, make it 8:30 and then the next week 8:15.

Also start waking your child up a little earlier each week so that one week before schools starts, you’re mimicking the school schedule.

Here are sleep guidelines recommended by

* Ages 3-6 need 10 ¾-12 hours of sleep
* Ages 7-12 need 9 ¼-10 ½ hours of sleep
* Ages 12-18 need 8 ¼ - 9 ½ hours of sleep

2. Shop early for school supplies with your child. Your child will gain a sense of ownership by picking his/her own supplies.

3. Create a Homework Basket - While you’re shopping for school supplies, have your child pick a homework basket. This basket should contain all of the supplies that will be necessary to complete homework i.e. lots of pencils and erasers, a ruler, scissors, paper, markers, etc. These supplies should be used exclusively for homework to prevent dawdling/excuses when it comes time to do homework.

4. Make sure your child eats a nutritious breakfast. Plan ahead and make menus for easy, nutritious breakfasts that pack a lot of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat into your child’s diet. Protein enhances neural connections in the brain. Whole grains, dairy products, eggs, lean meats and beans are good sources of healthy protein.

Complex carbohydrates give the brain energy. When your child eats a healthy carbohydrate like a fruit, vegetable, whole grain or dairy products it gives the brain a steady supply of energy.

Healthy fats include the omega 3 fats which are in canola oil, walnuts, eggs, salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds.

5. Get Yourself Organized - Develop a filing system for all of the paperwork that comes home.

Make it your child’s responsibility to put papers that need to be signed in a folder that you look at daily. Take the appropriate action step and return it to your child’s folder.

Create a “command central” box with a file for each of your child’s activities (and yours).

6. Shop for a first-day of school outfit. If you can afford it, let your child start school in a fun new outfit that will feel special.

7. Develop Morning Strategies - Do as much as you can the night before each school day. Check the weather forecast with your child at then pre-select an outfit with your child that’sweather-appropriate.

Make sure his/her homework/supplies are in the back pack at night. Have lunches or snacks pre-packed.

Have a picture chart with your child’s morning duties outlined and have your child check them off as they are completed. Time out how long the morning routine should take and add 10 minutes.

8. Meet the Teacher - If your school hosts a meet-the-teacher event or open house, be sure to go. Ask the teacher for an outline of the day’s activities so you can prepare your child. Also ask the teacher’s expectations for homework.

Take a picture of your child with his/her teacher and post it on the fridge. Make sure your child knows his/her way around the school.

9. Arrange for play dates. Your child will feel more comfortable is s/he has connected with a child from their class before school starts. It can make the transition back to the classroom easier.

10. End-of Summer Ritual - It can be helpful to create a ritual with your kids that signals the end of summer. It might be creating a scrapbook of the summer’s events. It might be going to an amusement park for one last hurrah.

11. Duplicate School Rules - Once school has started, ask your child what the rules are in his/her classroom? i.e. No Putdowns.

Try to mimic the language that’s being used in the classroom at home to reinforce the lessons in both places.

By taking these steps, you’ll be preparing your child to start the school year prepared for success.

Byline: By Toni Schutta, Parent Coach, M.A., L.P. Visit to receive the free mini-course “The 7 Worst Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Avoid Them!) and a free parenting newsletter.

Author's Bio: 

I love being a parent coach! I get to work with devoted parents every day who are making positive changes that reduce their stress and make them, and their children, happier.

I’ve had the good fortune of working with hundreds of children and families over the last 12 years as a parent coach, psychologist and family therapist. I have a deep bank of knowledge about what makes families strong and provides visible results. My greatest strength, according to parents who come to my classes or work with me privately, is that I provide parents with practical advice that they can use immediately.

Although currently working as a Parent Coach, I'm also a Licensed Psychologist with a Master's Degree in Psychology. I'm a certified graduate of the Mentor Coach Foundations Program and a member of the International Coaching Federation.

As a parent, I participated in Early Childhood Family Education classes, was an active member of a Mom's Club and organized a neighborhood play group for moms and kids to connect on a regular basis. I found these resources invaluable. I also gather information from down-to-earth resources such as "Parent" magazine and "Family Fun", so the information I share is easy to use.

Most importantly, I'm also a mother of two wonderful children, so I use these practices myself and understand the commitment that it takes to make a family strong.

If you’d like more information about me, feel free to e-mail me at: or call me at 612-810-8687 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              612-810-8687      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.