It’s back-to-school time! There’s something so exciting about boxes of brand-new crayons, super-sharp pencils, and stacks of blank notebooks and folders. But successful school years aren’t dependent on designer jeans, lunchboxes, and locker accessories; other preparations are much more important!

Here are a few suggestions for starting the school year on the right foot!

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1- The Homework Area: Prepare a dedicated homework space in your home, far away from TVs and other noisy distractions. Focusing on homework after a long day at school can be a challenge, so try to eliminate possible hurdles right from the get-go! Reserve a nice little study area filled with paper, sharpened pencils, and other supplies so your child can get through their work quickly.

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2- The Power of Sleep: According to academic research, children who get a good night’s sleep consistently perform better in math and other subjects that require focus and concentration. Establish a bedtime routine that includes keeping screens out of kids’ bedrooms! And dare we suggest that comfy pajamas can improve sleep quality? (Yes, we dare!)

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3- The Hearty Breakfast: Hungry kids have a hard time focusing in school, and lunchtime can seem an eternity away. Fill your kid up with a healthy breakfast before heading out the door! And on those crazy mornings (and we all have them!) a quick granola bar is better than nothing.

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4- The Before-School Field Trip: Starting a new school can be scary, so if you’re switching schools, take a little field trip and scout the premises! Meet the teachers and visit the classrooms. Map out the route between classes, and become familiar with walking the halls. You might even play little games such as racing to the nearest restrooms or the playground! Learning the school before the “big day” is a great way to reduce anxiety.

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5- The Shopping Date: Hitting the back-to-school sales can be awfully fun! You might even take each child with you one-on-one for a special “date.” Let them choose the folders, pencil cases, lunchboxes and other items that reflect their individual personalities. And if your school has a dress code, maybe find some funny socks or other accessories to add a little fun to their wardrobe!

It’s a time of great anticipation, with a fresh start and shiny, new possibilities ahead! We wish you and yours a very successful year filled with lots of learning, fabulous friendships, and experiences that will become cherished memories in the years to come!