Many thanks to A.S. Braverman, an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group, for this mindful article.  She shares some great tips about kicking off the school year with some perspective and planning.

Fall brings lots of things we love—pumpkin pie, the crunch of dry leaves, the comfort of a favorite sweater. As they activate our senses, as we enjoy them, these things pull us into the moment. But Autumn also means back-to-school, which can be a big source of stress for even the most laid-back family. Here are a few tips to help you and your family stay present in the hubbub of September.

Mindful Organizing – Use the ritual of cleaning your child’s study space as a way to minimize distraction while also setting some good intentions for the school year. To keep your child attuned to the smaller parts of his or her day, consider making a color coded filing system for different assignment and classes. A weekly planner (hard copy or electronic) can help your child focus on one day at a time. Another option is to plot out weekly or monthly tasks and activities on a family calendar in a prominent location, such as the living room or kitchen. Writing things down will free up everybody’s mind to focus on the moment at hand.

Gratitude Jar – Keep a Gratitude Jar, fun colored pen, and colorful notecards on the kitchen counter. Make it a weekly habit to write down one thing that you’re grateful for, and encourage your kids to do the same. Then, once a week when the family is together, maybe at dinner or breakfast, open the jar and read the notes out loud. Often, remembering what we’re grateful for can help put a challenging day (or grade) in perspective.

Language List – Like the Gratitude Jar, a Language List is a good way to pay attention to the everyday moments that are easy to overlook. Have your child pick out a notebook at a bookstore and dedicate it to words. Include funny words and phrases, figures of speech, or even unfamiliar words your kid can look up later. This is good handwriting practice, and will help your child spend some time away from a screen.

Take a Break – No matter how busy the semester may get, make sure you build breaks into your child’s daily schedule—and yours. Take a walk around the block together and see how many different kinds of flowers you can name. Step away from that hard math problem or vocab list and try a headstand or some jumping jacks—anything to shift your kid’s perspective, because we all need moments to reset our minds.

Editor’s Note:  Love these ideas, and of course, I’m a huge fan of being organized.  I tend to hide my “pile” so it isn’t staring me in the face as a reminder of what I haven’t yet done.  A clean desk is something I enjoy.  I guess it’s “fake it ’til you make it,” because we all have endless to-do lists, but we are in control of our workspaces.  Hope our MomTini friends and families have a great back-to-school experience. – Amy

Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.