Getting back in the groove after Summer break is not always a graceful glide. Lazy mornings, long Summer days, and nights spent under the stars with sun-kissed skin and salty hair give way to early wake-ups, the morning dash to get everyone out of the door on time, and the sudden return of overly full schedules.

Adjusting to a new routine can feel bumpy at best, and downright derailing at worst. The back-to-school transition comes around every year, like clockwork, and yet, it always feels somewhat surprising. With a little preparation, the biggest bumps can be navigated with ease and perhaps even a little grace.

Start Early. Begin adjusting your schedule before the actual transition time arrives. Slowly adjust your sleep and wake times in the direction you know you have to go. Adjusting by 10-15 minutes each day will cause much less disruption to your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal timekeeper), and ultimately your entire household.

Reset the Routine. Part of the fun of Summer is going with the flow and following where the wind blows you, but gradually easing back into more of a structured routine will feel much less jarring than going from free-for-all to time-bound. Begin to eat meals at the same time each day, get back into a bedtime routine, and revisit the chore schedule, looking for ways to adjust it. This is also a great time to establish a family meeting routine where all family members can bring something they want to talk about to the table.

Find the Fun. It’s easy to dread the transition, but that doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it makes it decidedly more difficult. Instead, actively consider the upside to this change. Talk about the parts of the upcoming schedule that are exciting. What is everyone looking forward to doing again? Maybe it’s participating in sports or drama, or getting back to piano lessons and seeing old friends again. Bringing the positive aspects of what lies on the other side of the transition will help overcome some of the challenges.

No matter what phase of life your family is in, transitions are a big part of life. Becoming adept and nimble at making your way through them is an important skill to build. Help your kids learn to look ahead and adjust where they can, knowing that there will always be parts of any transition that will be a surprise. It will be easier to deal with the unknown if you’ve done your best to plan for the known.

Kalia Kelmenson grew up on Maui and can’t imagine a better place to raise kids. She is the creator of The Salt in Us and helps women live on purpose without burning out. Follow her on Instagram at @thesaltinus