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HARTFORD — Heading back to school can be tough for both kids and parents after a summer of relaxed rules and later bedtimes, but you can start to prepare for the transition early to help it go smoothly.

Here are 5 tips from healthychildren.org:

1. RE-SET BETIME: The first one might be the trickiest. During the summer months kids aren’t always on a schedule, and it’s understandable, but proper rest is essential for a healthy productive school year. Help your kids get back on track sleep-wise by having them go to bed earlier and wake up earlier at least a week before school starts. You can start by sliding bedtime up 20-30 minutes for a few days, and then shave off another 15-20 until you get back to that “school night” bedtime..

2. VISIT THE SCHOOL: However your kids get to school do the route. Whether it’s walking, biking, or taking the bus, do the route and go over the rules. If it’s walking of biking, take note of crossing guards and busy traffic areas along the way, reminding kids of hand signals and not to talk to strangers.
Then pop into the school. Check out what the inside looks like (if it’s a new school for your child) or see if anything has changed. Stop by the office to see if there’s any new procedures for late drop-offs or early pick-ups.

3. PREPARE A STUDY AREA: Set up a special place to do homework, or dust if off if the desk hasn’t been used much in the summer months. Also remove any distractions from the area and make sure it’s stocked with all the necessary supplies: pens, pencils, ruler, scratch paper, colored pencils, etc

4. ESTABLISH THE SCHOOL DAY SCHEDULE: Go over what’s expected during a school day. This is especially important for kids going to school for the first time or for those going to a news school this year because start and end times may have changed from the previous year. This could include going over any after school activities like sports or music lessons after any rules for video game/TV time after school. Again the rules may have been relaxed during the summer so recapping how it will change once school starts again will help to get everyone on the same page.

6. SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes social media/cell phone use gets it’s own category. The beginning of a new school year is a good time to recap the rules of cell phones and social media in your house. Reestablish rules for when devices need to be put away, if they are allowed to be used during homework time, and also recap the warnings about social media and your social media footprint. Experts say it’s important to remind kids that what they do on social media has long lasting effects, and that even if a post is deleted it doesn’t really go away.

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