We love back-to-school season! Yes, of course, we love all of the notepads and pencils and planners—but we love the feeling of a fresh start too! When the kids head back to school, you’re given a new opportunity to set new routines; and if you set the right ones, you’ll also be establishing helpful habits that benefit the whole family all year long!

These are a few of our favorite back-to-school routines that, if maintained, will keep you balanced well into next spring:

Create a Morning Routine

Morning routines aren’t just great for adults—they help set in stone great habits for everyone, regardless of age! Try sitting down as a family and coming up with the 3-5 things that would best contribute to a successful morning (and more than likely, a successful day). You could decide on a time to wake up, agree to eat breakfast together, share a devotional—or all of the above. It doesn’t matter exactly what you do, so long as you decide as a family how you want to spend your mornings—and choose activities that will set you up for a great day. Then create a routine that ensures you’ll make it happen every day!

Plan Meals + Pack Lunch

Having your kids bring their own lunch to school is not only a more affordable option, it’s often healthier—and a way to plan and prep together too! Meal plan once a week with your little ones to pick different options. (Our free Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List printables might help!) Consider the different foods they love, and try to introduce them to new ones too! Then create a shopping list and, if you’re feeling up to it, make the trip to the grocery store a family activity as well. You might even ask the kids to make their own lunches (with any necessary grown-up assistance) according to the meal plan for the week. Letting them be part of the process allows them to feel accountable for what they eat every day—and perhaps might save you a little time and energy too!

Plan for After School

After-school activities become an automatic routine, with set practice times, meetings, games, and more. Connect with your kids about the activities they would like to explore this school year—they may want to continue an activity they’ve enjoyed in the past (like being on the soccer team or yearbook committee) or they may want to explore something new! Review all of the possible options with them, look at your own schedule to make sure you can support (and often transport!) them, and finalize the activities they will enjoy and that will help them grow as students and as people!

Schedule a “Homework Hour”

It’s not always easy to get your kids to do your homework—but, of course, it is necessary. It can be easier if there’s a set time every afternoon or night for homework. If your after-school schedule varies due to activities, look at each day and pinpoint times that will work. It might take an hour, it might take less (or eek, more!), but if there’s a designated time to work on homework every evening, your kids will soon become accustomed to the routine and hopefully approach it with ease. Plus, like adults, kids will fill the time that they’re given—if you designate a specific block of time as the block in which homework gets done, they are more likely to do what it takes to finish the homework they have during that block. And if you want to make it even more fun, you can print out our new Daily Tasks printable—have them check off their “Homework Hour” and any other responsibilities throughout their day to keep themselves on track!

Keep Sundays Sacred

We all need a little downtime once in a while. If you don’t already, you might want to make Sunday (or another day of your choosing) the requisite day to relax and reflect within your week. Try not to schedule too many playdates or sport activities or dinner parties—unless, of course, that’s what you find most relaxing. Instead, we suggest keeping Sundays sacred, for the most part. Make it a routine to spend a day together as a family, reflecting on the last week and preparing for the next. We’re pretty sure this is one routine you’ll want to stick to forever.

What’s your favorite back-to-school routine? Let us know what’s worked well for your family in the comments below!