After the chaos of summer break, we know you can’t wait for the kids to quit bouncing off the walls and head back to school. Making the switch from vacation to education can feel jarring. Your children have had the chance to sleep in again, stay up late, and haven’t had to complete homework in months. So how do you convince them to willingly get back in the swing of things again?

One of the tricks of the trade is to simply plan ahead. This is an opportunity for you to regroup as much as it is for your kids to take a much-needed break from classwork. Organize all their school supplies and check the list twice. Do they need more pencils, is the calculator still working, how much room is left in their notebooks? Are they taking any new classes or do they need new supplies?

Another step in the planning process is to cut back how late you allow your kids to stay up the week before school starts. You have to approach the return to school like you do a hot shower: slowly. Gradually making adjustments and transitioning from holiday hours back to school hours will help everyone involved.

The same goes for homework. Bedtimes are easy enough, but how do you incorporate reading or little assignments during a break? With younger children, read together. Give them the first couple of weeks off, and then start scheduling in time during the day before a nap or bedtime to read a little together. You could also reintroduce some of your child’s favorite activities from the last school year.

The second biggest tip is to be patient. Don’t be hard on yourself or your kids. It won’t take long to adjust to a routine once more, but don’t get frustrated when things don’t go perfectly. Take a few deep breaths in and out: it will all work out—just stick to your plan, set goals, and keep your schedule organized!

WORDS: JENNA CARDA