Whether you are a seasoned mom who has sent kids off to school for many years or are preparing for that first, tearful goodbye; now is the time to prepare our children to return to (or start) school.

After a relatively carefree summer full of sleeping-in, playing outside until a later dark hour, and relaxed mealtimes, the transition to a more scheduled routine can be tough.

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Here are some quick tips to ease the change.

Move Bedtimes Back

If you’ve allowed your children to stay up later during the long summer nights, now is the time to begin returning to a normal bedtime.

First, decide on a reasonable bedtime (most kids need at least 9 hours of sleep per night, and many need up to 12).

Each night move the current bedtime five to fifteen minutes closer to the goal bedtime. Hopefully, the weekend before school begins, your child will be at the goal bedtime consistently.

Curb Grazing

Some children get used to grazing on snack food all day (sometimes nutritious, but not always) during the summer. Once school starts, they will be limited to a morning snack, lunch, and sometimes an afternoon snack.

If you can get your child used to this pattern a few weeks before school starts they will begin adjusting the amount of food that they eat at breakfast and lunch appropriately.

Also, find out what your school’s snack policy is. Many require only peanut-free foods and require clearly labeled foods.

Increase Reading Time

We read all summer with our children, but we may fall into a more relaxed pattern. Now is the time to gear up with a nightly family reading time, with children either reading solo or being read to.

Make a Few Dry Runs 

How is your child going to get to and from school? Walking? Taking the bus? Carpooling? Make sure he is comfortable with the mode of transportation and knows how to get to and from school as well as who will be accompanying him.

Meet the Teacher

Many schools offer an open house the week before school starts. This is a great way to ease your child’s fears. Taking the mystery out of how the classroom will look leaves your child with more confidence.

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Chime in! How do you ease back into the school year?