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Things might be different this year, but whether homeschooling, schooling online, or sending your kids back to school, here are five ways you can prepare your family for the back-to-school season:

Prepare the night before

Being ready for a school morning (or any busy morning) is so helpful in getting your family off to a great start! It will cut down on stress and chaos for everyone in the morning. Get the kids’ backpacks packed, have them pick out their clothes, and have everything made for lunch. Involve your children as much as possible so they can learn to do it themselves, which will help them learn responsibility and help you feel like you aren’t doing it all on your own.

Give kids choices

Kids don’t get many choices since we parents guide them in directions best for them, so give them choices in what areas they can choose. Let them pick out their own outfits (even if it’s not what you would have picked), their own new backpack, some lunch options, whether they do their homework when they get home from school or after dinner (if possible), etc. Making their own decisions where possible will empower them and may help them feel more confident as they face the new school year.

Plan some family time

When the craziness of school comes, having intentional family time will help you feel reconnected with your kids (bonus: regular connection can help your kids have a better attitude ;)). Play some board games, read books together, have family dinner, or go on a bike ride.

Create a “homework station” for your kids

Put in a desk, chair, scrap paper, and any other supplies needed. Having a designated area for homework will help kids focus on their work, especially if that one spot is only used for homework and not for play or anything else. Let your kids help design their space so it’s a place where they want to be.

Have some easy, healthy snacks ready for after school

Having some healthy snacks ready to go and in easy reach will encourage your kids to nourish their bodies and keep them in a better mood (aka will keep them from getting “hangry”). Some great options are hummus and veggies (or veggie straws), apples with nut butter, protein smoothies (having the ingredients for one smoothie individually packaged together in the freezer will make it easy for kids to grab it and throw it in a blender), or nutrient-packed protein bars. A good, healthy snack will fill them up until dinner time and restore their minds and bodies.

Preparing as much as possible ahead of time, letting your kids choose what they can, and ensuring you have time to connect with them and as a family will help everyone as you transition going back to school. Here’s to the new school year!