The key to moving from free-flowing summer days to a more rigorous Fall schedule is finding small ways to be present and stay organized. Building good habits from the start will save you time and tears. Here are a few ideas to take you from a frazzled mess to a supremely cool and collected parent during the school year.

Review the week’s schedule. Whether you use a digital calendar or have an old-school one hanging on the fridge, carve out time to take stock of the week on Sunday. Review appointments, after-school activities, and events. This will help you start your week at ease knowing what to expect and planning accordingly.

Lunch prep. Lean into your natural rhythm.If you’re the kind of person that is energized at night, prepare what you can of their lunch before going to bed. If you’re bright-eyed in the morning, make food after your morning coffee. Even better, have the kids help. They can collect ingredients, pick their snacks, pack their lunch box and fill their water bottle.

Dress before breakfast. Encourage your kids to get dressed for school when they wake up, along with finding their shoes. It’s likely you don’t wear shoes in your home, but have them put it by the door next to their backpack when getting ready. Doing this before breakfast helps reduce the chaos when it’s suddenly time to go.

Eat with your kids. As parents we tend to run at a million miles per hour, shoveling food into our kids mouths, and not eating ourselves. Whether you prepare a simple meal or everyone is on their own to pick what to eat, sit down together. A moment of family connection is a wonderful way to start the day.

Coordinate a carpool. Sick of feeling like a chauffeur? Join forces with fellow families and share the burden of driving kids to school, after-school activities, and sports. A little planning can save you hours of driving and give your kids more time with their friends.

Homework. Figure out a homework routine that works for your child. Let them decompress from school first, with a snack and a conversation about their day. They should have a quiet, designated area, whether it’s the kitchen table or their own desk. Once complete, have them pack up their bag so it’s ready for school the next day.

Find what works for your family and establish those routines that help you and your kids ace the school year. —AT