August means it’s back to school time. There are a few things you can start to do now at the beginning of the school year to set yourself up for a hassle-free and stress-free year whether your kids are just getting into school or almost graduating.

Make back to school time an easy time by following these simple steps!

Have a routine in place now. We’ve written before about the power of a nightly routine and how to set up a mudroom so it is most effective for your family. When you get into a routine, it becomes easier for your family to function at high-capacity. Make sure you start to get into your routine now to make it a habit by the time school is back in session. Be sure to use alarms, set aside time at night to lay out tomorrow’s outfit, and have a designated space for important papers. It’ll save time (and whining) when your kids go back to school.

Play by a color code. Humans are visual creatures. Color coding makes it easy to categorize and organize your life because you can visually see what’s happening. This makes it easy for your brain to pick up on the events of the day and sort through them quickly. Set a color for each child or each activity. For example: if you know that soccer practice is labeled blue, your brain will start to make associations when you see that on the calendar and it’ll be easier for you to identify the routine you need to perform.

Take time to have fun. Back to school time shouldn’t be all about setting schedules. Structure is good, but it’s important to have some fun with it, too! Encouraging children to enjoy this time will get them excited to go back. Since they’re excited for school, it’ll also make them more willing to play along with a routine now. (Remember, setting the habit now will make it easier in the future!) To get your kids excited, have them decorate notebooks, make locker accessories, and pick a first week of school lunch menu.

Back to school time is a wonderful time. With a few simple steps, your family will be excited to be back in school and you will be excited for an easy school year.