FARGO — Well hello there, ladies and gents and everyone in between! It is wonderful to be back after a one-week hiatus!

My hiatus was brought about by my need to attempt to be an adult. The kids these days call it "adulting" and it feels very weird. I have mentioned it before in my little Friday life updates... Yah girl bought her first house. We closed last Friday and I decided that was worth a very short respite.

But have no fear! I am back and ready to bestow wisdom that nobody has asked for!

We have entered the Sunday of the year: August. The non-eventful, hotter-as-the-dickens month that's a prelude to what I always have and probably always will refer to as the beginning of the year. Soon, school will be back in session and children will return to their normal schedules.

For many, the end of the summer signals a time to readjust and re-enter normalcy. But how do you do that when the children have spent the past months running free? Well, mamas and dads, starting them back on their routine early may just be the key. Here are five ways to prepare the kiddos (and yourself) for the school year.

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Early to bed, early to rise

"They say that waking uppp is hard to doooo..." Or, something like that. But it doesn't have to be! Beginning a few weeks before the first day, start getting into the groove of going to bed earlier. It'll make going back to school that much easier. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
"They say that waking uppp is hard to doooo..." Or, something like that. But it doesn't have to be! Beginning a few weeks before the first day, start getting into the groove of going to bed earlier. It'll make going back to school that much easier. Getty Images / Special to The Forum

If your kids are anything like I was as a schoolgoer, waking up on the first day was the worst. After three months of freedom, that first Monday after Labor Day was dreadful, and hauling my sleepy butt out of bed made me cringe.

However, it seems that ol' Mamma V. was smart when it came to her brood. Just a few weeks before school started, while all the neighbor kids were biking up and down the neighborhood, me, Stelly and Goose were tucked into our beds to "practice" waking up early for the new school year. It wasn't the most fun, but once that first Tuesday after Labor Day turned around, we were up and at 'em.

To start preparing your sweet little angels for the new year, set a bedtime each night and slowly move it earlier and earlier until they're at the perfect time.

Notebooks and pens and folders, oh my!

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of back to school. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of back to school. Getty Images / Special to The Forum

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of back-to-school season. New yellow-barreled No. 2 pencils, the smooth glide of a brand-new ballpoint pen and the crisp, clean, fresh smell of college-ruled notebook means class is back in session.

Before you rush to snatch up sales that started appearing on store shelves back in June (or so it seemed), be sure to check what your kiddos will actually need. School supply lists can be found online through your school's website.

One you have your list, run, don't walk, to your local store of choice. If there's one thing I learned in my many years of school-supply needing, it's the importance of getting to the store before it's all picked over.

You're stylin', baby

One of the most fun parts of this time of year is finding that perfect outfit for the first week of school (because, let's be honest, kids will be wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts every day after the first week).

However, if the young'uns are, well, young, keep in mind that growth spurts may happen. Especially if your child is at the peak growing stage of 10-13 (girls) or 12-15 (boys). Buying a whole new wardrobe right now may not be the best idea. However, a stylin' new shirt or cool pair of jeans may do the trick until the inevitable growth spurt is done.

Crack one open

Crack open a fresh book. You never know where it'll take you. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Crack open a fresh book. You never know where it'll take you. Getty Images / Special to The Forum

A book, that is.

A new school year means new opportunities to expand your world through reading. Whether your kiddo has been reading as part of a summer reading program or you just want to get them back in the swing of things, picking up a book to unwind at the end of a busy day is a great way to practice.

Organize your life

Family calendars are a great way to keep everyone on track once school starts. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
Family calendars are a great way to keep everyone on track once school starts. Getty Images / Special to The Forum

While the new school year brings a sense of renewal for the family, the days of running free are almost gone, and it's time to get back on a schedule.

Create a calendar with the family's events, activities and school stuff, and place it in a central area of your home (the Vatnsdal calendar is on the kitchen pantry). When things get moved around, just add them to the calendar. You'll know where everyone is and be able to avoid the last-minute scramble.

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Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.