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It is hard to believe, but it is almost time for the kids to go back to school. When school starts, parents are often caught off guard and despite their best efforts, the first day of school feels stressful and a bit chaotic.

This year, start the year off on a calm and organized note. As a parent, if you approach the shift in routine in an organized fashion you will not only reduce your stress, but your childs' stress as well.

Here are a few tips to start the school year off right:

Start Shifting Their Schedule: During summer, kids are usually allowed to stay up late, and sleep later in the morning. Several weeks before the start of school, start to gradually shift their schedule towards going to bed early and getting up early. By the time school starts, your children will be adjusted to the new school schedule, and their morning wake up call will be infinitely more pleasant for all concerned.

Clean Up: The beginning of the school year is the perfect time for a fresh start. Go through your childs' clothes, and separate out anything that does not fit, or is bad repair. Clean their rooms, and remove all unnecessary clutter, particularly in their study area.

School Supplies: Sit down with your child and make a list of all the supplies they will need to start school. This could include everything from socks to paper. There are a lot of sales on these items this time of year, so stock up on things you will use throughout the school year as well.

Create a Master Calendar: Things can get hectic when school starts, and usually everyone’s schedules are different. Create a master calendar for the family, so that everyone can see each other’s schedules. It’s a great idea to create an area in your home or office that includes the master calendar, and an area for organizing papers. A filing bin is perfect for this, where your children can leave their graded homework and notices brought home from school. An outgoing bin can collect items to return to school like assignments and signed documents.

What’s for Lunch? Make sure that you are prepared for school day lunches ahead of time. Stock up on everything you will need at least for the first week, so you don’t find yourself running to the store at 9:00 at night for sandwich bread. Stock up on items that you use daily when they are on sale, like bottled water, napkins, snacks and juice boxes, for instance.

Plan the Night Before: Even with the best laid plans, mornings can be hectic. Do what you can the night before to ease the pressure such as laying out your children’s clothes, and preparing lunches ahead of time.

Be Positive: Kids may complain about going back to school but in reality, they are often looking forward to it. Your positive attitude will go a long way towards your children starting their school year off right.

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