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5 back-to-school hacks to help your family's routines run more smoothly

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(BPT) - It's time to change up your routines again for getting back to school — are you and your family ready? The biggest challenge can be the shift from looser summer schedules to the many expectations and activities that come with each new school year.

If you're looking for better ways to keep your family’s routines running like clockwork, here are tips to help set everyone up for a smooth transition from summer to school mode.

Hold weekly meetings

If you don't already have a set time for family meetings, try a time like Sunday after dinner to meet and discuss anything coming up that week. Are there appointments, events or deadlines everyone needs to know about? Any fun outings or get-togethers planned? Make sure the whole family is up to speed on the upcoming week, and you won't have surprises like bake sales you didn't prep for or unexpected birthday parties.

Leverage smart home technology

Between managing new schedules, coordinating after school activities, and keeping track of who's coming and going, back to school is a hectic time for families. Make life easier by installing this new clever smart home device — the myQ Smart Garage® Video Keypad. A cross between a video doorbell and a garage keypad, the myQ Video Keypad lets you SEE and CONTROL who opens your home's busiest entryway — the garage (more than 70% of U.S. homes with attached garages use the garage door as the primary entry point for family and friends). It's an easy to install, valuable smart home product that lets busy families keep track of daily traffic in and out of the garage.

Kids aren't always great about checking in, but with a myQ Video Keypad you get peace of mind seeing your kids arrived home safely. It works with the highly rated myQ app so you can keep track of kids coming and going — anytime, from anywhere. And, unlike most cameras that only let you monitor your home, the myQ Video Keypad lets you manage and control who you let in (dog walker, service provider). With the myQ app you can easily create and manage personalized PIN codes and set limits on days and times codes can be used.

If you purchase a myQ Smart Garage Video Keypad in August you will be automatically entered to win the myQ Back-to-School Survival Kit, which includes a myQ smart garage door opener, myQ Smart Garage Camera, Amazon and Walmart gift cards, an iPad and a backpack. Learn more at myQ.com.

Write down your routines

It's hard for children to follow a new morning or evening routine consistently when they can't remember what it is, especially when a lot has changed from last year.

For each new school year, write down the schedule for each child's wake-up and bedtime, plus any chores or activities you expect them to follow, depending on their age and unique schedule. This may include regular hygiene practices like brushing teeth and bathing, as well as homework time and free play time. Writing everything down clearly and posting in an accessible place helps your kids get used to their new routine, so everyone stays on time.

Use pictures to reinforce good habits

For any age, but especially for younger children, visual reminders can also help when setting expectations around things like chores. For example, take a picture of a child’s room when it’s clean, then post it near their door so they know what to aim for when it's time to clean their room again.

Make sure it's not unrealistic, but straightforward in terms of expectations — with a short list to match the picture, such as: a floor cleared of toys, dirty clothes in a hamper and the bed made.

Color code everything

If you have two or more kids, you know it can be difficult to keep tabs on which homework or notes from school should go in which backpack.

To solve this problem, have each child pick a color at the beginning of the school year, then make sure that color is prominent in all their school-related belongings such as backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. You can then use consistently color-coded folders for each child's homework and school notes, colored markers for their additions to the family calendar and any other ways you organize items for each child.

Change can be challenging for children of any age, so using these tips should help make the transition to getting back to your school routines a lot easier, for you and for your kids.