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5 Ways to make back-to-school season less stressful

I am a child and school psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.

It's time to transition from beach towels and bathing suits to school buses and uniforms

Time flies, and with August already upon us, the transition from beach towels and bathing suits to school buses and uniforms isn't far off. For many parents and children, September's looming presence generates a sense of palpable unease. How can we make this time less stressful and enjoy those last days of vacation a little more? Here are five easy tips to ease you into the back-to-school mode:

1. Make lists

Once the back-to-school commercials come on, parents often find themselves overwhelmed by how much they need to get done, especially in families with multiple children. In such a situation, it may be helpful to make a list for each child. My favorite way to do this is to use a different color-lined post-it so that each child's list is visibly different. The lists should include school supplies, teacher names and people to contact prior to the start of the year and on the first day of school.

2. Set up support systems early

Many parents enlist the support of outside help, from extended family to babysitters to tutors and more. Make sure to set up schedules for the school year in advance, which can help provide more of a structured transition, especially during the first week of school. If you need to hire someone, start as early as possible. By the time it's September, most caregivers are no longer looking for work.

3. Plan ahead

Once your lists are completed, you may want to come up with completion dates for each thing on the list so that you can methodically check things off in order of importance or timing. At this point, you may want to enlist the help of a partner, childcare provider, family member or even the child himself so that you can get everything done in a timely and relaxing fashion.

4. Make schedules

Schedules are helpful when there are different drop-off/pick-up times for the start of the school day and dismissal. This way, you will know which child has to be dropped off/picked up first, second, third, etc. Confusion and stress can be avoided — especially during the first day/week of school, when everyone is adjusting to more structure and new demands. This may also help if you're arranging a carpool with other parents. Being organized is key to kicking off this part of the year well.

5. Be flexible

Always expect the unexpected, and remember that everyone around you is adjusting to new routines too. The more you can remain flexible and open to things shifting, the better for your well-being and that of your children.

For more parenting tips please visit childmind.org.

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