It’s that time of year again. It’s hard to believe but school is starting across the nation. It can be a little difficult to get back into the swing of things (it’s amazing how much we can forget when we’re having fun in the sun) so here are some suggestions for making the transition a little easier.

Plan in Advance

This is really two-fold. First, you can start preparing for the academic year ahead by slowly gathering supplies and looking for good deals instead of rushing at the very last minute. It will make the whole process a lot less overwhelming for you and your children. Second, you should try to plan a week’s worth of lunches and outfits at a time so that you can do the prep work on Sunday evening. When clothes are already laid out and lunches are already made, it makes the morning routine so much smoother.

Learn Food Rules

With each passing year, it seems that there are more rules pertaining to food in schools. While it used to be that we had to know about foods banned for allergy-related concerns, districts are also beginning to put a greater emphasis on healthier eating options. At the beginning of the school year, make it a priority to find out what restrictions your school has put on foods to avoid having conflicts over the lunches and snacks you have packed for your child.

Remind App

Gone are the days when parents had to depend on their children to hand-deliver notes from their teachers. When email became popular, it made communicating easier and now, smartphone apps take it a step further. The Remind App, for example, is a text messaging service that eliminates those group texts or long email chains. Teachers can set up a group, allowing students and parents to easily connect to the class list. The app accommodates attachments and allows communication without divulging anyone’s phone number. Revolutionary!

Kids Heading to College

If you have a child getting ready to leave for college for the first time, your back-to-school experience will be a little different (especially if you still have younger children at home). Make sure you take a tour of the campus to become familiar with your child’s new surroundings and begin compiling their needs based on where they will be living and what will be provided by the school. Look into meal plans, discount cards, health services and more and make a handy list of emergency information for your college freshman.

Have Some Fun

Last but certainly not least, try to have some fun in those final days leading up to the school year. Keep things in perspective, try not to panic and relish those dwindling moments without a hectic schedule. Choose activities that help you solidify your bond and reaffirm the connectedness you felt over the summer break. It will help sustain you in the months to come.