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As any parent knows, the past year was anything but ordinary.

Many families cleared garages and spare rooms, renting self-storage units for their belongings to create a temporary learning space. Others are still waiting to hear about what plans are in place for in-person classes.

While parents navigate the journey of sending their children back to school (online or in-person), they are also trying to determine how to get into a healthy, back-to-school routine. 

No matter what the school year looks like, countless studies have found that one way to make any school year a success is by providing your child, or children, with structure and routine. According to Psychology Today, “…consistency and predictability of family routines, such as meal or bedtime routines, spending time with extended family or friends, or participating in extracurricular activities, are associated with a wide range of outcomes—from fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and fewer behavioral problems to better self-control and health behaviors, like sleep quality and habits.”

1. Make sure your children are well-rested – a set bedtime is the key to a happy home.

If you have young children, consider having them wind down with a storytime. If they are older, allow them to have 20 minutes of reading time to themselves before bed. Regardless of their age, make sure your child or children receive the recommended number of hours of sleep. Every family is different, so determine what works best for you and go with it (sticking to your routine each evening).

2. Do your best to sit down at the table and eat meals together, even if it is only a few nights a week.

Having dinner together each night, without the television on, is a great way to reconnect with one another, making dinner the highlight of everyone’s day. You can even include your children in the cooking and cleaning process, as a way to increase your time with one another. Doing so provides your children with a sense of security while creating a memorable experience for all.

3. Assign everyone in your home a role to play in keeping your house clean, creating clutter-free learning and studying environment.

Clutter leads to stress, and stress does not make for a happy, successful home. Set aside just 15 minutes per day to target areas that are clutter magnets for your family, assigning everyone an age-appropriate job to do. This will prevent anyone person in your family from becoming overwhelmed. If your home is small and storage is an issue, do consider renting a self-storage unit nearby to keep larger items (such as sports equipment, seasonal decor, extra clothing, etc.). Prices are affordable, and the extra space you will have within your home can make it that much more functional for you.

By setting a lights-out policy, spending time around the dinner table together, and having each person do their part to create a clutter-free environment, you are on your way to a healthy, happy home – and a fantastic school year!

We wish you all the best!