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How to ease kids back into school routines

A psychologist recommends how to create a routine so the transition back to school is smooth.

MINNEAPOLIS — The first day of school is just two weeks away, so now is a great time to set a routine for kids about to head back.

Dr. Sarah Paper, a psychologist at Allina Health, says a good routine starts with sleep. But she said not to focus on when your child goes to bed, instead to think about when they get up.

"Have them start waking up a little bit earlier each day, and when you do that, they're going to be tired sooner at night," Paper said.

Dr. Paper said it's good for your remaining summer days to mimic school days, too.

"If you can get into that routine before you have the stress of school, it would be helpful," Paper said. "[Have] some of the same types of breakfast that you have during the school year. Even doing things like setting clothes out ahead of time."

Having conversations about the upcoming school year can't hurt either, Paper said.

Your child should also start finishing summer homework if they have it, so they're prepared for the first day. And don't forget to stock up on school supplies.

"If you can't get those supplies yourself, make sure the school has a program so that those supplies are available for your student," Paper said.

Now, even if you do all the preparing in the world, some kids may still have back-to-school jitters. So, what do you do then?

"Keeping our own anxiety in check so we're not fueling their anxiety," Paper said. "But also validate their feelings: 'I know it can be scary, and I know that you can do scary things.'"

While preparing can be stressful, don't forget to have fun and keep your family's traditions alive.

"Every family has a different tradition. Even if those traditions are embarrassing for kids, they often look forward to them," Paper said.

Dr. Paper also thinks it's a good idea to create a clean, dedicated space for homework. Maybe add decorations and some positive affirmations. She says that can help make kids more excited about the school year.


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