When the time comes for parents to transition their children from their carefree “summer fun” schedule to their “back-to-school” schedule it can be challenging. Summer days mean later bedtimes and less structure during the day which does not lend itself well to the often stricter schedule of school.

Trying to get your child to wind down and turn in earlier can be  met with nighttime battles, pleas, and grapples,and it usually takes some time for your little ones to get back into their regular routine. 

I have had countless clients and patients ask me  how they can make this transition easier for their little ones and the rest of the family. After helping many of them through this struggle, I have crafted a guide to supporting your child through their back-to-school sleep transition.

So, if you are gearing up for the back-to-school transition and want to know the easiest and most effective ways to get your child through this transition, continue reading below.

Tip #1: Start Early!

This is probably the most important, yet most often missed, step in preparing for the back-to-school transition. 

I like to illustrate this point by comparing it to traveling across time zones. Many people are aware of the difficulty as you travel across time zones and your body tries to adjust to your new schedule. The jet lag that ensues is due to your circadian rhythm (the roughly 24 hr time clock that every cell in your body runs on) has to calibrate itself to get in sync with the new time zone and allow your bodily processes such as sleep and digestion to run smoothly.

It takes about one day for your body to adjust to every hour difference in the time zone. The same thing occurs when you try to change your child’s sleep schedule by multiple hours from their usual summer bedtime to their new, earlier school bedtime.

In order to ease  the back-to-school bedtime  transition, parents should start moving back their little ones' bedtime by 15 to 30 minutes per night a week or two before school starts to give their bodies ample time to adjust. 

This change will make waking up on the first day of school less jolting for children and will also decrease the struggle that may come with them not yet feeling sleepy on the first school night. 

 Tip #2: Set Aside Wind-Down Time

It’s important to give your children dedicated wind-down time to settle from the excitement of a summer day, making it easier for them to transition to sleep.

I love using the Hatch Rest 2nd Gen because it makes it easy to build this time into your child’s nighttime routine. The extensive content library contains hassle-free wind-down routines that can be scheduled to start at a specified time each night to signal to your child that it’s time to wind down without you having to say a word.

Experts curate the pre-designed wind-down routines specifically for your child’s age and development. You can rotate through different relaxing sounds, meditations, and stories so that your little one gets a new experience each night — keeping them interested and looking forward to what’s to come. 

Tip #3: Establish a Convenient Bedtime Routine

Changing your child's routine during their back-to-school transition might seem daunting.

However, the features of the Rest 2nd Gen offer a convenient solution. The device comes equipped with a "time for bed" signal that incorporates specific light and sound combinations that alert your child when it's time to start their bedtime routine. The easier it is to conduct a bedtime routine for your little ones, the easier it is for them to follow it!

You can program the Rest 2nd Gen to play your little one's favorite content for a specific time. Once it’s complete, their “bedtime favorite” sounds will automatically start and continue to play throughout the night.

Your kid's bedtime routine should include two to three calming activities that allow them to transition to sleep easily. The Hatch 2nd Gen makes it convenient to choose these soothing sounds and activities — making moving through the steps of their new bedtime routine enjoyable for you and your child!"

Tip #4: Get Kids Involved in the Routine

 The more you incorporate your kids into their bedtime routine, the more likely they will engage in it and stick to it.

Giving them options of the lights and sounds that play throughout the night along with the stories and other content that plays during the wind-down routine allows them some control over their routine, ultimately making it more enjoyable for them.

And with the countless options included in the Hatch Sleep Membership Content Library, it’s easy for your child to find something that interests them night after night.

Tip #5: Consistency is Key 

The best way to cement the new school-time routine is to remain consistent! The most effective way for your child to learn is through repetition. Keep their sleep routine consistent each night, starting at the same time, and including the same steps.

The Hatch Rest 2nd Gen makes it easy to be consistent as you can program the bedtime signal right into the device  and allow the remainder of the routine to continue seamlessly.

The ease of use, customizable features, extensive content library, and expert-curated suggestions based on your child’s age and development make the Hatch Rest 2nd Gen the perfect addition to your child’s nighttime routine.

With these tips for your little one’s bedtime routine, I hope the return to back-to-school will be a breeze!

Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, who is a Board-Certified Physician, Certified Clinical Sleep Specialist and Sleep Coach, and founder and CEO of sleep coaching company, The Solution is Sleep LLC.