So it is that time of year again, when my walk home from work is accompanied by the music of the locust (or cicada if you are a non-Midwesterner and want the correct term). It still to this day represents that the school year is upon us. Even I still get a little nervous gurgle in my stomach as if I will again be having a “first day of class” moment in the next couple of weeks.

Going back to school can be a big transition for kids. I get asked by many parents how to get the school year off on the right foot and then continue that streak throughout the year. While there are many more than just these three, here are my top suggestions to implement before school begins and to continue through the year.

Discipline your kiddo. Yeah, I know this sounds like common-sense; the thing is a child’s summer activity and schedule often time look much different than it does when school is in session, for lots of obvious reasons. It is important for you to talk with your child about the upcoming year, expectations, rules, requirements. Be clear on how things are going to change from summer to school. Examples of this could be a change in bedtimes, chores or how they are getting to and from school. Be patient and remember this is a conversation and not a lecture, which means allow time for your child to respond and ask questions. Remember effective parents offer compassionate and honest feedback if a rule is not followed.

Value your kiddo. As adults part of our job is building up a child’s esteem. One way of doing this is through praise. We want to make sure they know time and time again how proud we are of them. Make sure they know for sure how awesome they are and are doing in all areas of their life: in school, at home and with peers.

Nurture your kiddo. We want children to understand what positive touch can look like that that making eye contact is part of being confident. When talking with your child make sure you make eye contact and don’t be afraid to respond physically even it is just a gentle pat on the shoulder after they mastered their chores for the day. High-fives are a personal favorite!

Be Confident. Be Clear. Have an awesome new school year.