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It's back-to-school time, which means gearing up for those early starts, packed lunches and the mad rush to catch the bus. But the goods news is that you can make the transition so much easier (for kids and parents) with these genius tips that we gleaned from three of our Coterie members, aka some of the coolest moms we know.

RELATED: 7 Genius Ways to Save on Your Back-to-School Shopping List

Kids back in school classroom
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Pinterest Is Your Friend

“I pack my son's lunch every day, but I run out of ideas a week or so into the school year—and he gets bored of the same old, same old. To make matters worse, he's also very picky, and I never really know what he's going to like. So right before the school year, I like to make a Pinterest board with tons of different lunch ideas. Then I go to the computer with him every few weeks and have him pick out the ones he's drawn to. This way, he's more into the lunch because he was involved with the planning—and it helps me out because I don't have to rack my brain trying to think of something he'll actually eat!” – Alyssa Hertzig, beauty editor and blogger

Give Kids Some Options

“Getting the kids dressed can be quite a challenge and the fastest way to run late! To avoid this, each morning (or night before), select three different outfits for them to choose from to wear. My girls love picking out their clothes and it makes them feel like they have some control but still gives me the ability to carefully decide which three outfits, while saving time. Win-win!” – Nicole DiGiacobbe, lifestyle blogger

Mom taking her daughter to school
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Lay Out Clear Steps

“My top tip for getting kids out the door on time? Create or purchase a customizable chart—something simple that tells kiddos what to do in the morning by using easy-to-complete steps like ‘brush hair,’ ‘get dressed,’ ‘eat breakfast,’ and ‘brush teeth.’ It’s so simple but such a life-saver.” – Kendall Rayburn, lifestyle and family blogger

Ask Specific Questions

“As a mom, I am always dying to know what my kids did during the school day. And it's always so frustrating when they come home and say the day was ‘fine’ or that they don't remember what they did. So, I've learned that it's best to ask very specific questions or to give them prompts like, ‘tell me about something funny that happened today’ or ‘what was the most surprising thing you learned today?’ These questions essentially force them to give you an answer—and you'll end up learning a ton about what they're actually doing during the day!” – Alyssa Hertzig

RELATED: Busy Philipps Uses *This* Conversation Starter When She Wants Her Kids to Spill About Their School Day

Mom and daughter having breakfast together
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Don’t Just Prep Their Lunches

“To avoid the craziness in the morning, I like to meal prep as much of my kids' breakfast as I can. For example: My kids love to have bacon every morning, but it can take a lot of time to fry it up every day. (Plus, it's messy!) So, on Sundays, I lay out a whole package of it on a sheet pan covered in oil. Then I bake it in the oven. I keep the cooked bacon in the fridge, and just take out a few slices each morning, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds, and breakfast is ready in no time.” – Alyssa Hertzig

Pick Your Battles

“If they don’t want to eat carrots for lunch, switch it up and give them a treat instead. Something in their belly is better than nothing. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every single day but sometimes it’s easier to be the fun mom that packed her kids some cheddar bunnies!” – Nicole DiGiacobbe

RELATED: 17 Recipes to Make If Your Kid Won’t Touch a Vegetable

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