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Will my teacher be nice? Where will I sit? Will the other kids like me? Many kids get nervous about heading back to school. A big part of a successful first week is establishing a routine and explaining where the bathroom is, what happens when you go to gym class and when to expect recess. With a little preparation, parents can help. Here’s how to make your child’s transition a smooth one.

Remember Routines. Family routines tend to slide in the summer—after all, what’s summer without crazy bedtimes, a popsicle habit and wearing swimsuits for days on end? It can be hard to readjust come fall. Well before school starts, focus on choosing sleep, exercise, healthy foods and time together.

Get Ready! Don’t underestimate the fun and importance of new stuff for the big day. With younger kids, a bag full of school supplies, a new backpack and a few new items of clothing tend to gear them up without any further encouragement. For an older child, this may be the time to give the thumbs-up to that must-have trend item, especially if he’s earned some money over the summer to pay for it.

Show Them the Way. If she’s new to the school, show your child her classroom, what entrance and exit to use and where the bathroom is located. If she’s taking the bus, visit the bus stop location and explain how to get on and off, especially if it’s the first time. Show her the drop off and pick up spot at school, too—if you’re not sure where it will be, call the school ahead of time to find out.

Be Organized. Ease back-to-school anxiety by being prepared. Help your child lay out her clothes and pack her backpack the night before. Be sure to include a healthy lunch and a snack that your child can open and eat on his own.

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