Parents and baseball coaches have something in common. Just as coaches hold spring training camps to prepare professional baseball players for the upcoming season, parents must give their children end-of-summer exercises to prepare for the opening day of school. The only difference may be that players pay better attention to their coaches than our kids pay attention to us parents. In spite of the tough odds, there are a few secrets in the parent playbook that will help your child get off to a winning start into his or her next grade. Sleep Exercises: With school start times between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, practicing the new sleep schedule may take a week or two. Starting off tired during the stressful first few days may not be helpful to your child. Forms & Notice Requirements: Any day now, your inbox will get busy with important dates, events and deadlines. Medical forms, registration forms, mandatory shots, sport tryouts, orientations and back to school BBQ’s. Recheck your e-mail to ensure you didn’t miss any important notices. It’s that time again where your calendar gets overflowing. Don’t forget the school supply list. Review Practice: Your child might need some brain rebooting. It is reported that our children spend the first 6 weeks of their new grade reviewing subjects and rewiring their brains to get re-accustomed to the academic schedule. Preparation and Planning: I bet your child has grown over the summer. New clothes and shoes may be in order. With a little planning, you might be able to hit some sales. Similarly with school supplies – don’t wait till last minute. We in Santa Barbara even have the added concern that school supplies always seem to run out a little too early. Starting school with folders and binders properly marked and the right pens, pencil and highlighters, will prepare your child for immediate tackle for any subject. As a good parent coach it is up to you to come up with a winning strategy for back-to-school. You may not see your hard work pay off until the first progress reports, however it is worth putting the effort in now to put the odds in your child’s favor.