It’s that time of year again. Parents are bracing for one of the toughest routine-altering events of the year: back to school.
But the good news is that you can help ease your kids’ transition back into the school year — all through the smart use of smart lighting.
Lighting can have a huge impact on our emotions and routines. It affects how productive we are, how relaxed we feel and how well we sleep. Using light wisely — whether to adjust to a new school-night schedule or to help inspire good homework habits — can help your family successfully transition to the new school year. Here are three ways you can use Philips Hue smart lighting to get your family in back-to-school mode and help your kids thrive throughout the year.
Tip 1 — Use Light to Readjust Your Kids’ Bedtime Routine
During the summer, we typically let bedtime rules slide. So it comes as no surprise that “going to bed” is one of the most difficult back-to-school transitions for the whole family. Smart lighting can help provide the structure and support you need to get your kids in bed on time and, even better, sleeping peacefully.
Here’s how: Open the Hue app, and go to Routines. Then, set a specific time you want your bedtime routine to begin. Next, select Timers and set the time to be about an hour before bedtime. Then select the Relax pre-set scene to create the right environment to help your kids wind down.
Even better, begin this routine a week before school starts — or a little sooner — to help your students-to-be get used to the new school schedule.
Pro tip: A simple way to help kids fall asleep is to set a timer for lights out. Go to the Hue app, select the “Go to Sleep” routine and schedule the fade out timer. Your lights will gradually dim down and turn off, gently easing the kids to sleep.
Tip 2 — Use Cool Shades of Light During Study Time
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, blue light gets a bad rap these days, but the truth is every color of the light spectrum can help you at certain moments throughout the day.
You can help your children focus on their studies by exposing them to cool white lighting (or “daylight”). According to Harvard Health, blue wavelengths can boost attention, reaction times and mood. Just imagine — more focused, studious and happy children and without ever having to promise them a new video game or a new car! To support good study habits, put on the Concentrate light scene in your Hue app.
Pro tip: To make sure the kids are fully awake and ready for the day, enjoy your family breakfast in a cool white. The cooler tones of the Philips Hue Energize light scene will help the whole family feel refreshed and more alert before they head off to school. It may even help improve someone’s mood before they leave the house — especially useful if you have a teenager in the house.
Tip 3 — Steer Clear of Blue Light at Night for a More Restful Sleep
The same Harvard article also documents the fact that cooler, blue-toned light suppresses melatonin production, which can throw your circadian rhythm out of whack. In short, the science here points to one thing: to help have a more restful night’s sleep, stay away from blue lights (like phones, screens or actual blue lights) after sundown — probably a difficult habit to break for everyone in the family.
Pro tip: Starting two hours before bedtime, turn down your lights to a warmer, amber-toned light. Implement “no screen” time; or, if you decide to allow them, make sure you adjust the screens to a warm light as well (available on most smartphones). For the younger kids in the family, set the lights to a warm white while you read their favorite book before bedtime. This will help them ease into sleep.
So let your smart lighting help you get back into school mode. Used wisely, smart lighting can be the study buddy at homework time, the helping hand at bedtime and the lullaby at night.
P.S. If you don’t have Philips Hue smart lighting, this Starter Kit is a great and affordable introduction to the power of smart lighting.