Can you believe public school starts next week? How can that be…it seems like summer just started. There haven’t been enough pool days, beach days or vacation days. We did go on a camping trip, well two, but it still feels like summer flew by and before we knew it, here we are, getting ready for school to begin. Some parents quietly cheer the start of school — summer can take its toll — check out this very funny back-to-school parody, as a family cheers summer’s end and fully admits that they’ve reached their threshold when it comes to summer vacation activities.

For some of you, your children are returning to school and you’ve got this down (or not), and for many of you, this is the first day (gulp)…regardless, the question is, who’s more of a mess? You or your kid?

We’ve assembled some health and safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics that cover making the first day easier, backpack safety, traveling to and from school, eating during the school day, bullying, before and after school child care, and developing good homework and study habits. Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, the National Safety Council‘s suggestions for proper safety precautions serve as a helpful reminder.

I worked in public broadcasting for six years, so I looked to PBS to find back-to-school tips for parents and found some great suggestions, including meeting the new teacher, touring the school, connecting with friends, and easing into the routine.  Huffington Post, one of my go-to websites for news and information, did a great roundup on tips every student should know, especially applicable for older kids.  And Napa Valley Unified School District has compiled everything you need to know plus helpful tips, school lunch and snack ideas, and more.

We’re slowly getting organized at our house — cleaning out drawers, buying new socks and underwear, ordered a new lunchbox, creating a menu plan, still need to schedule a haircut — probably exactly what’s happening in your household. We have some checklists we intend to use to get organized and we bought our daughter her own daily checklist as well. We’ll see how long we actually stay organized…but it won’t for lack of trying!