With summer vacation coming to a close, parents spend a lot of time getting kids ready for back to school. Between school supplies, new clothes, and haircuts, we rush around making sure everything is perfect for that cute Instagram picture of our child holding a “Welcome to 2nd grade” sign. #Perfect. But in reality, are we ever really ready for that first day? Here are some tips to keep your entire family sane during this transition.

1. Start Preparing for Your New Routine – Gone will be the days of staying up late and sleep in. Start setting alarms and turning off lights in 15 minute increments until the desired shut down/wake up times are reached.

2. Organize Your Meals – Between PTA, band practice, and homework, there is little time in the evening to stand in front of the refrigerator asking yourself “What’s for dinner”. Spend Sunday afternoon preparing one-pot, crock-pot, or freezer meals that are ready to go each day of the week.

3. Add One More Thing to your Child’s Nighttime Routine – I know. I can hear you already. Between bath, grooming, 3 books, a drink of water, snuggles, kisses, OOPS – forgot to go to the potty, another sip of water, and one more kiss, what could I possible add? Before bed, help your child choose their outfit for the next day. From hair bow to tennis shoes, lay it all out so there are no questions in the morning. Trust me on this one.

4. Clear YOUR Schedule – The first week of school is a beast. Between tired and hungry kids, “All About Me” forms, searching for family pictures, family surveys, and who knows what else, the last thing you need is to be running late for important evening meetings. Give yourself a little break. You deserve it.

5. Relax – No one works well under stress and your kids are no exception. When you are stressed, the kids pick up on it, and in turn, chaos ensues. Plan time each week for you, your spouse, and your kids. Summer vacation will be here before you know it.