It's almost September, and long days of slow, relaxed mornings, late-night firefly chases and almost non-existent schedules are coming to a close. It's time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping, homework and after-school activities. Your kiddos are probably excited, nervous and everything in-between, especially since the changeover from lazy summer weeks to hustle-and-bustle semesters can often be tricky. But with a bit of planning and organization, you can help make the transition a smooth one for your children. Check out the tips below for a head start on prepping your kids for their return to school.


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Adjust bedtime. If your kids have been going to bed at 10p.m. for the past two months, it's going to be awfully hard for them to accept an earlier bedtime once school starts. Explain to your kids that when they go back to school they'll need extra rest, so they'll have to go to bed earlier, and that you're going to start making the change a couple of weeks before the big day. I suggest upping bedtime by 15-20 minutes every few days, until you reached your desired hour.

Get an early start. In the same vein, that first week back at school is going to be ultra-tough if you can't rouse your brood at an appropriate hour. You definitely won't want to worry about missed busses and tardy notes. Try enforcing any earlier wake up time a week or so in advance, so your kids are not shell-shocked when you're banging on their bedroom doors at 6a.m.

Hit the library. Spend the next couple of weeks encouraging your children to brush up on some of the things they learned last year, so they'll be able to start the school year with confidence rather than fear. Your local library is likely chockfull of resources on a multitude of subjects.

Visit the schoolyard. A visit to the school is a great idea, especially if you have young children or kids heading into a new school. There's usually someone there this time of year, and even if you can't go inside, you can walk around the grounds to help your kids become familiarized and comfortable with the surroundings.

Regulate meals. If mealtimes haven't been consistent throughout the summer, you may want to work on getting your kids to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. It could also help to alter your schedule to be more similar to that of your kids' classes. Hungry kids have a harder time focusing and can be grumpy, so if your child is used to snacking all day, having to go hours without food could pose a problem. Get them used to it a bit in advance, and it'll be easier once they've returned.

Have a heart-to-heart. Chances are your kids might have some worries associated with returning to school. Give them an opportunity to air out any fears or concerns -- whether you do it formally or informally, having you as an objective sounding board will likely help alleviate their stresses.

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