It’s that time of year again—the beginning of a new school year. Whether this is your child’s first school experience or he or she is starting sixth grade, the new school term will present new challenges.

As a parent, you can help make the transition back into the school experience easier on your children. Here are just a few ideas:

Make a practice run or two at getting ready and going to school so your child is familiar with the route and routine.

Help your child make a mental movie of the school day by describing what will happen during the first day and week.

Talk to your child and ask questions: “What was the high point of your day?” “What do you think is going to be the toughest part of school this year?” “What are you looking forward to at school this year?”

Give your child control over simple choices. For example, if your daughter or son needs a new backpack, let her or him choose the color.

If your child does get upset about going back to school, acknowledge his or her feelings and then talk things through: “I can see that you are feeling upset. Lots of kids are nervous and upset at the beginning of the school year. Let’s figure out what will help you feel better.”

Allow your child time to have a snack and chill out right after school. Let talk about school emerge a little later while you cook dinner, read together, or check on homework.

Remembering what school was like for you is also important; however, it can be easy to think that your child’s school experience will be similar to yours when it may actually be very different. Be sure to really listen as your child tells you about his or her school experience this year.