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Give your kids more responsibility before the school year, experts say

Experts say when your kids head back to school, it's also a good time of the year to begin establishing shared responsibilities for them. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Christmas may hold the title of "the most wonderful time of the year," but the back to school season is easily one of the most stressful for a lot of families.

There's the shopping, the organizing, the extracurricular activities, and the juggling of schedules. It adds up quickly for parents who are already on the go.

Experts say this is a good time of the year to begin establishing shared responsibilities for your kids. These can be as simple as having them make their own bed in the morning, or even make their own breakfast.

The goal is two-fold. First, you're establishing a routine for your children. Second, parents are getting much needed help.

"I think it's important to engage your kids and make sure they are a part of this," said mom and television lifestyle expert Karen Firsel. "They should be responsible for certain things."

The health app "Achievement" says parents - and moms in particular - tend to get less sleep in September and October as they juggle new back-to-school schedules and responsibilities, in addition to their own jobs.

"I always make sure my kids make their own bed in the morning," Firsel says. "It's a great accomplishment before they come downstairs for breakfast."

It's also one less thing she has to do herself.

One of the biggest stresses at the start of the school year is illness. There are a lot of germs and viruses your child may be exposed to in the first few weeks. And nobody wants to be sick on the second week of school, especially a parent.

"I always have disinfecting wipes," Firsel said. "I'm always wiping down my car handles, steering wheel, and door knobs. My goal is always to have fewer sick days."

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