As summer comes to an end and back-to-school season begins, it can be hard to get back into the rhythm of a regular schedule — for both kids and adults. The trick, of course, is to plan ahead. Start preparing everyone a few weeks early, and make sure you have a solid child care plan in place. If you’re hiring a babysitter, nanny or tutor this year, consider bringing them on a little early to help get your child on track before the first day of school

To help you with the transition, here are 12 back-to-school tips for parents you can use to ease kids back into school life while also managing your own stress. Read through the list and identify the strategies you think could help you and your family stay organized and on top of things. Then, test out different approaches as a family so you can figure out which ones work for you and which ones don’t.

Mentally prepare for school

1. Set your kids’ sleep schedules back to “school time” two weeks before the first day of school.

2. Use an egg timer to get your kids used to focusing for specific periods of time.

3. Encourage your kids to read at least one (or one more) book before the school year begins.

Put time and schedule management plans in place before the first day

4. Let kids choose a planner or scheduling tool they’re excited to use.

5. Help your kids put together a rough outline of their school and activity schedules.

6. Create a family calendar or choose a calendar app that tracks everyone’s activities and commitments.

Make arrangements for before- and after-school hours

7. Hire a before- or after-school sitter to help care for your kids while you’re at work.

8. Have a backup transportation plan in case your kids miss the bus.

9. Get your kids involved in programs they can do after school to keep them active.

Set up a system for school lunches

10. Buy reusable bottles to increase water consumption during the day.

11. Discuss the different pros and cons of bringing versus buying school lunches.

12. If they choose to take lunch some or all days, let your kids involved in creating and preparing their daily lunch menus.

With these back-to-school tips — and with you as their calm and collected guide — your kids will be better able to approach the school year feeling prepared, excited and ready to get to work. Head over to for more back-to-school tips!