By ALLIE MYSZKA

With the start of a new school year comes the return of a structured routine for most of us.

The carefree days of summer are great, but having a (mostly) predictable schedule when school
starts back can also be a huge gift.

This year, why not take full advantage of this transition time while you’re “getting back into a groove?”

Before you switch into auto-pilot mode until the holidays, implement some positive habits into your family’s routine that will make your lives easier and create more time to be together.

Here are a few ideas to inspire new, positive habits around your home.

1. Have the kids help you with prepping for the next day.

Every night, you’ve been spending an hour or more packing lunches, laying out clothes, and making sure homework is done. Is it time for your kids to chip into these efforts themselves?

Set aside some time in the evening when you’ll request your kids’ help on these tasks — or better yet, show them how to complete these tasks by themselves! Divide and conquer so that everyone has more time to relax in the evenings and more peace of mind the next morning.

back to school2. Implement a “10-minutes-a-day” tidying time.

When you get caught up in the rat race, tidying your home gets shoved to the bottom of your to-do list. What happens you walk into your home one day and panic because of all the clutter?

Save yourself from that terrible moment and set a timer for ten minutes each day when you and the kids get home from school. Have them spend that period of time picking up anything they’ve left out of place — their backpack in the middle of the kitchen floor, their shoes under the coffee table, or their half-eaten lunch on the kitchen counter. Ten minutes may not seem like enough time to accomplish much, but you’d be surprised how much neater your home will stay when you dedicate even a small window each day to staying organized.

3. Have a dedicated family meeting at least once a week.

If you have multiple kids who are always running in a thousand directions, keeping up with the chaos can be a daunting task. Choose a time when your entire family is home — perhaps Sunday evenings — when you can all sit down and look at your schedules and needs for the week. It doesn’t have to take hours, either. In fact, it can be done while you eat dinner together. How’s that for efficiency?

back to school4. Schedule family fun time — and stick to it!

It’s easy to lose sight of joy and laughter when life gets crazy, but you don’t have to let that happen. Schedule some “mandatory fun” time and encourage the members of your family to contribute their own ideas for activities or things to try during that time. All too often, we go through life missing each other and not truly connecting for months at a time. Put a stop to that with intentional family time as often as we can — even if that’s only an hour or two once a month.

Allie Myszka was born and raised in Georgia and moved to Nashville after graduating from the
University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, Pilates instructor, old soul, and
chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at alliemyszka.com.