For families, back to school time can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s the end of summer. No more long, lazy days at the lake and late nights out in the yard watching for fireflies.

Instead, it’s a time for a chill in the air, fresh school supplies, and a renewed sense of rigor.

By the time September rolls around, most all of us—not just kids and parents—are ready to put away the unstructured days of summer and add routine to our lives.

In terms of health habits, routine helps us all do better. Routines can help us eat healthier: We can plan to take lunch every day and set a time during the week to do grocery shopping so we always have healthy food in the house to cook for dinner.

And it goes without saying that routine is exactly the thing that keeps our exercise habits on track.

Here are some great routines to get into this fall:

  • Keep the same bedtime throughout the week (no staying up super-late on Saturday nights). Kids (and adults) sleep better when bedtimes don’t fluctuate.
  • Make lunches the night before and store in the refrigerator. (Don’t forget to pack them in school or work bags in the morning!)
  • Lay out clothes the night before so mornings will be less hectic.
  • Cook a large meal on Sunday night with planned leftovers so that weeknight meals will be easier.
  • Schedule family or personal downtime. With the start of school comes the start of extra-curricular activities, boatloads of homework, and sports. Make sure you schedule in some down time—like family game night or a hike on Sunday afternoon.

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