Hopefully you have had a great summer and you are now headed back into the routines of your regular life. For many families this includes kids going back to school. As a kid I remember being so excited for summer break to start and then not more than about two weeks into the break, I found I was bored out of my mind. Come August, I found myself counting down the days until I went back to school. For many kids going back to school in the fall is a time of excitement: summer boredom is over, they get to see their friends every day, new school clothes, new classes/teachers/friends to become acquainted with, etc.

However, with all that excitement comes the responsibilities of homework, reading, studying, tests, and completing projects. Many kids can get bogged down in the requirements of school and we find that their excitement quickly gets suffocated by the demands of academia. Guess what? There are ways to help your kids manage their school responsibilities while still keeping the excitement and happiness shining in their little faces. Here are a few of my recommendations:

First: Help your kids take care of their personal needs of getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, being outside, and laughing every day. These regular strategies help us feel better physically and emotionally so we can face the challenges of our day.

Second: Talk with your kids every day about what they are doing, how they are feeling, and their opinions on how things are going for them. Don’t try to solve their problems or give them advice, instead try to really focus your efforts on listening to them. This is going to be the gateway to helping them feel understood and consequently keep you as a parent from being in the dark as challenges begin to arise.

Third: Establish good work habits and organizational skills. Teach your kids how to effectively use binders, folders, notebooks, planners and other tools to organize their papers and assignments. It seems that half the battle with homework is knowing what to do and where the assignment is.

Fourth: Set clear expectations for how your child is to spend their time after school. Set up a routine that helps them know what to do and when to do it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following advice on developing good homework and study habits for your kids:

• Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy.

• Schedule ample time for homework.

• Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.

• Supervise computer and internet use.

• Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework for her.

• Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.

• If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren’t able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child’s teacher first.