In honor of all those kids returning to school this week (or for those who have already started), I’d like to share some of my tips for making the back-to-school morning routine a little easier for everyone–whether you’ve chosen to educate your kids in a public school, private school, or right in the comfort of your own home. All you have to remember is your Bs and Cs.

Let me explain. Transitioning from lazy summer mornings to the fast-paced, sometimes-frantic, back-to-school routine is enough to make the whole family crazy. All this week, homes across the country will be filled with cries like, “Hurry up and eat your breakfast! The bus is almost here!” or “Where’s my backpack?” and “Has anyone seen my math book?!”

To decrease that early morning stress, we encourage our kids to take responsibility for some of that routine themselves. We use the letters B and C to help them remember five easy tasks they can do on their own:

Task #1: Bed. Make it—as soon as their feet hit the floor. A made bed goes a long way toward making the whole room look tidy.

Task #2: Breakfast. Eat it. It helps if your kids know their breakfast options ahead of time and can get these items on their own.

Task #3: Brush (their teeth and hair). While they’re in the bathroom, they should wash their faces, too.

Task #4: Clothes. Put them on. I encourage the kids to wait until after breakfast to get dressed, so we avoid any breakfast spills on a favorite outfit. Laying clothes out the night before is another way to cut down stress and avoid last-minute wardrobe panic.

Task #5: Clean (their room). We’re not shooting for perfection here, but kids can certainly put away their pajamas and clear a little clutter before they walk out the door or head off to the classroom in the basement.

To parents, this morning routine might seem oversimplified, and that’s precisely the point. Keeping it simple is the best way to make sure it gets done. So this year, while you’re helping your kids review their multiplication tables and the eight parts of speech, make sure they remember their Bs and Cs, too. The morning might run more smoothly if they do.

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