Back-to-school season is in full swing and if you’re a single parent, it can be even more challenging to manage the anxiety, stress, and frustrations that come along with the change in schedule and adjusting to the new school year. Some kids look forward to going back to school while others will fight you to the front door each morning. However, there are some things you can do to make the transition back to school just a little smoother. Here are some ways you can get your kids ready for back-to-school season as a single parent:

1. Make Time for Breakfast

Getting three kids out of bed, dressed, and ready for the day can be one of your biggest challenges each morning and it’s easy to skip breakfast as a result. Make sure you plan for time at the kitchen table for a healthy breakfast so your kids have plenty of energy to get through their busy morning. Consider making breakfast before your kids get up so you have enough time to get things organized in the kitchen. If your kids are picky eaters, ask them what they want for breakfast the night before so there are no surprises and delays at the breakfast table. Making time for breakfast is also a great way to bond with your kids before they head out for the day.

2. Plan a Short Workout with the Kids

Working up a sweat together first thing in the morning can be a fun way to kick off the day. Exercising regularly is especially beneficial for kids who tend to stay indoors or are on the computer most of the day. Even though they may have play time and gym class at school, a quick 20 to 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or even a workout DVD that you can do together can be a great way to start the day. Exercise releases endorphins which can put everybody in a good mood and be consistent with your regimen will instill a healthy habit.

3. Keep Things Positive with a Pep Talk

When kids are feeling anxious, nervous, or agitated about school-related issues, be sure to address them during your quiet time together. Kids may need someone they can talk to about things they are going through at school so it’s important to make sure they know they can trust you in that time of need. Offer up a pep talk in the morning or spend some quality time with the kids after school so you can learn about any challenges they had during the day. Making time for your kids will help them adjust to any major changes. Helping them maintain a positive attitude and encouraging them to do their best will help them get through those stressful days with ease.

4. Set an Alarm Every Night

If you have a hard time staying on schedule to catch the school bus each morning or make it out the front door on time, get into a routine where you set the alarm for the same wake up time every night. Make it part of your turndown routine so everybody understands they need to be up at a certain time and lights go out at the same time. A consistent sleep routine will make those mornings a little smoother and also keep everyone in a positive mood — compromised sleep can cause fatigue during the day and make it difficult to stay positive.

5. Take Care of Back to School Shopping Early

Back to school shopping can be an event in itself and something that many parents don’t look forward to. The crowds, stores running out of back to school supplies, and the last-minute scramble to find some much-needed items on the shopping list can leave any parent burned out before the school year even begins. Be proactive and take care of back to school shopping at least three weeks before school starts. This way, you’ll have access to the full inventory of school supplies that stores are just bringing in and can even find many of these items online. Shopping online will save you a few trips to the store and also means everything will be shipped directly to your home at once. This can save you time and reduce stress.

Back to school season can be a stressful time of year — especially for single parents — but there are some things you can do to make the transition a little less frustrating for everyone. Planning a morning workout, giving your kids a pep talk, and taking care of back to school shopping early in the season are just a few ways to keep your kids happy, healthy, and motivated as the new school year unfolds.