Back to school is a phrase kids hate to hear during their summer vacation and tend to bring on the blues.

Here are some ways to ease them into the mood and make them look forward to school days.

Zap the Zombie Out

Your children's sleeping patterns have  changed over their vacation. They wake up later and go to bed past their usual bedtime. There is no homework to stress over and pressure to get them done. They dream of adventure and endless summer. Alas! The lovely, lazy summer days have taken over and turned your children into zombies! How do you get your children back?

A week or two before school starts, replace the zombie brain cells with "fresh batteries." Begin by gradually changing bedtime earlier and closer to the normal bedtime. Wake them up at the normal time you wake them up for school too. Entice them with their favorite breakfasts or an extra hour of computer time. Don't expect quick results but retrain their body clock into a routine helps turn the zombie into a more cooperative child.

Build Up the Hype for School

Leave the magazines and flyers with Back-to-School articles and sales in places where they will surely see them. Shopping is a great way to lure your kids into the mood for school. Allow them to make their own lists then plan a day to go back-to-school shopping. New clothes and a new electronic gadget sometimes helps!

Encourage them to read books with school themes. The Harry Potter series is popular with kids and will surely entertain them.

Let them watch DVD's with school themes to remind them of fun they have at school. Ask your children if they want to see these movies together with their friends.

Plan Their Favorite School Lunches

Are you dreading the days of uneaten lunches? This is a good time to find out what your children want to eat in school that will make you both happy. Ask for their suggestions and list them down. Discuss and agree on a 2-week list. If your children are older, you can teach them to prepare their own school lunches. Remind them that healthy food can be prepared at home. A yummy lunch makes a happy tummy!

Make a Memory Book

How have your children spent the summer? This is a good time to remind them of all the good times they already have. If you enjoy taking digital pictures, make a quick slide show and watch them together. Ask them about their favorite summer activity. They don't know it but this will also prepare them for the usual homework about "What I did last summer."

You can even take this a step further by asking them to make the slide show.

Enjoy the Last Days of Summer

Remind your children that summer isn't over yet! Find out what things and activities they haven't done and try to make it happen. Spend good quality time as a family. Even an afternoon in the park or a weekend out-of-town can drive the blues away. Throw a Back-to-School Party and invite all their friends!

Going back to school is inevitable but a little effort can turn it into a more pleasant experience.

(p.s. Moms and Dads, hang in there a few more weeks and things will get more saner in the house!)