'The Deuce' Star Maggie Gyllenhaal Shares Her Back-to-School Tips

#3: Take advantage of online shopping.

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That faint whisper of a chill in the evening air, fresh sweet corn’s arrival at the farmer’s market, and school supply lists arriving in your mail or inbox can only mean one thing: Back-to-school season is headed our way. When it comes time to preparing the kids for the new school year, every family has its own methods. Some swear by keeping the same morning schedule year after year, while others add traditions as the little ones get older. But even parents who have been meeting the school bus for years can sometimes use a few back-to-school tips and tricks. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s kids are about as ready as the rest of us, and she's meeting the new school year with a few tried-and-true methods and a more than likely, a few surprises. Here's how she’s getting Ramona, almost 13, and Gloria, 7, ready to get back into the school year routine.

Get Out the Color-Coded Calendar

For Maggie and her family, getting back into the swing of things involves lots of color-coding and syncing up everyone’s calendars. She gets out the markers and color-codes everything on a big communal board, so she and her husband Peter Sarsgaard know when one girl is headed to violin lessons and when the other has dance class.

“Organization doesn't come easily to me. It's something I've really had to work at,” Maggie admits. Sticking to a schedule helps, and so does making sure everyone is on the same page.

Find Your Favorite Traditions

Maggie and her girls share a love of school supplies, so heading to the store with the big list always feels like a fresh start for all of them. One tradition however, may be falling by the wayside this September. “Usually, we choose a new backpack at the beginning of the year, and we donate the old backpack,” Maggie explains. “But my older daughter is very focused on not being wasteful. She's a real environmental activist.”

This year, Ramona and Gloria may head back to school with last year’s backpacks, as their own way to reduce waste and practice eco-friendly living. “To make any kind of change, you have to make a sacrifice,” Maggie explains. “And for her, that’s a real sacrifice.”

Shop From the Couch

As a kid, Maggie loved going to back-to-school shopping and getting that all-important first day outfit picture perfect, but her girls couldn’t care less about clothes. Instead of dragging them through back-to-school shopping to update their outgrown wardrobes, she optimizes her time.

“Sometimes we'll shop online sitting on the couch together. We'll make some choices and then I'll just bring back with doesn't end up working,” she explains. “It's a nice way to shop, especially with young kids.” When they do need to head to the brick and mortars, Maggie advises choosing just one or two stores a day, rather than a marathon session. “It’s just so much easier than trying to cram it all into one day,” she adds.

Find Your Kids' Signature Style

The one exception to her daughter Ramona’s clothing attitude? Eyeglasses. Maggie, her mom, and brother Jake are all nearsighted, so she’s diligent about the girls’ vision appointments. According to LensCrafters Clinical Director Mark Jacquot, O.D., both adults and children should get a comprehensive eye exam once a year, just like a yearly physical.

“A regular eye exam plays an integral role in not just protecting vision, but also in preventive medicine," he explains. "For children, the role of vision in the learning process is fundamental and it is often a central contributor to academic success.”

Ramona and her sister still have perfect eyesight, much to the older girl's chagrin. “She loves them. It's like a quirk with her,” Maggie shares. “We went shopping at Portobello market in London and all Ramona wanted was vintage spectacles. When Maggie swaps out one of her own pairs, she gives Ramona the frames for dress-up. “At Ramona’s school, the kids who have glasses have them as sort of a signature.”

Let Your Kids Set the Tone

Because her daughters are very different individuals, Maggie also has to employ separate techniques for getting them ready to head back into the school year. "My kids are so different about going to school," Maggie says. "One found it really difficult to say goodbye and the other one was like, 'see ya, mom!'"

Her advice for other moms is to pay close attention to each child’s personality and adjust your approach accordingly. “Prepare yourself to put some time aside if they need you and then just pay attention to who they are and what they actually need.”

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