Although school will look different this year, it’s still important to for kids – and parents – to start preparing for the year ahead. Use these ideas to get ready for a successful year.

Get off the summer sleep-in routine – start adjusting to a new schedule with an earlier bedtime before school starts.

Start exercising those brain cells before school begins with regular reading, math or word games, or other mental challenges.

Talk through any worries your child has about school– whether it’s the coronavirus, managing homework or not being able to spend time with friends. Acknowledging that things are different can be helpful.

Monitor your child’s consumption of news and social media information. Consider having family meetings to discuss the current news about COVID-19 and other current events.

Meet your child’s teacher. If possible, schedule an in-person visit or a video call, so they can get to know each other before classes start.

Set up a designated area for virtual learning. Clear away the clutter and make sure to have paper, pencils, computer charger and other supplies nearby. Good lighting and comfortable seating is a must. Get expert tips from a designer on How to Create a Fun Learning Space.

Avoid the morning rush. Plan outfits the night before, and have healthy breakfast foods on hand. Pack a lunch, whether it’s eaten at school or the kitchen table.

Limit screen time once virtual school is done for the day; make sure your child is getting outside to burn off some energy. During breaks, encourage him to get up and stretch or walk around.

Keep up with friends. Whether learning virtually or in-person, find ways for your kids to connect with friends and meet new people in the class. This could be socially distanced get-togethers with just a few kids, a video chat or online get-to-know-you games.

If your child will be learning in a school classroom, discuss the school’s rules for masks, social distancing, and other new guidelines so they know what to expect. Find a mask style your child is comfortable with; make sure to have multiples on hand and practice wearing it for longer periods.

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