When school starts back, there is a sigh of relief for most parents. There’s excitement, too, for sure, as it’s another milestone. There are the new backpacks, new school supplies, new classes and new teachers. It marks the fresh start of another school year.

But once the back-to-school shopping is done, the open houses are over and kids have been back to school for a week or two, there always seems to be a bit of shock to the family schedule. Gone are the summer mornings when the kids can sleep in — in my kids’ case, “sleeping in” during the summer may only be to 7:30 a.m., but that still beats getting up at dawn. Our lazy summer schedule suddenly melts away and there’s homework to be done, karate class and soccer practice to get to and lunches to be made, all while trying to get the kids to bed at a decent bedtime.

The first few weeks of back to school can be even worse in the morning, as kids get used to the school schedule once again. In our family of five, it’s a mad dash most mornings to get all three of our kids up, dressed, fed and ready for their day. I’d prefer not to stand out at the bus stop at 7 a.m. (Dear neighbors, I’m sorry for the bedhead and lack of makeup. I admit, some days I’m at the bus stop still in my pajama pants.) However, riding the bus is about the only way we are able to get our three kids to their three different schools all on time — not to mention getting to work afterwards.

For most parents, getting back into a routine as school starts back can be a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org:

— Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better, perform well in school, and have better concentration and more energy. Some schools provide breakfast for children; if yours does not, make sure they eat a breakfast that contains some protein.
— Most schools send schedules of cafeteria menus home or have them posted on the school’s website. With this information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
— To help the morning routine, pack lunches the night before.
— Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework starting at a young age. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet and without distractions.
— Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into choices about participation in after-school activities.
— To keep track of the family schedule with after-school activities, utilize a calendar or chart so you know what is happening on which day.
— Establish a household rule that the TVs, tablets and other electronics stay off during homework time.
— Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school.
— Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep. Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, tucking them in and saying goodnight.

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.