(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The return to school can be a stressful and challenging time not just for children, but also the whole family.

Whether it’s starting a new school or shifting from your summer schedule, it’s normal for kids to need some time to adjust to a different routine.

“Feeling more stressed during this time of year is a normative experience,” Dr. Benjamin Mullin of Children’s Hospital Colorado said. The clinical psychologist added, “You might be concerned if your child didn’t feel more stressed.”

To help ease the transition, Colorado health leaders have compiled back-to-school tips on everything from managing change with healthy routines to minimizing stress.

Experts say you should remind children that they are loved, and send an encouraging note or text for your child to read on the way to or from school. 

For younger children, include a family photo or a special note in their backpack or lunch box to help them get through the day.

Staying active can help your child have a healthy start to the school year too.   

An hour of exercise every day can help kids gain confidence, maintain a healthy weight, boost mental health, improve attention in the classroom, and sleep better.

“I encourage the parents of my patients to require their child to choose one or two new activities that they are going to take on in the new school year,” Mullin said. “This could be trying out a new sport, a new club, or other supportive activities. This is really a chance to meet other kids with similar interests.”

Experts also recommend trying to exercise as a family. On the weekends, encourage active play dates with friends and consider signing them up for sports or other physical activities.   

Also, make sleep a priority and establish a good sleep schedule including during the weekend. This will help students academically and be at the top of their game. 

Mullin says some stress can be a positive thing. “Childhood and adolescence is a battleground. We wouldn’t want to take those things away. This will help prepare your child for the future in coping with new things.”