Sleep Tips

Making Halloween Fun While Protecting Our Kids Sleep

I will be the first to admin, I didn’t love Halloween until my kids were old enough to get me excited about this holiday. I now happily participate! Watching the joy in my girls eye makes me love all of it.

I have slowly started to participate more and more every year but never not wanted to jeopardize my girls sleep. We have started early, done the baby in a carrier jaunt and now just enjoy the excitement and get back to schedule the next day. I always try to remember it’s only one night.

Last night I event took my girls for a drive at bedtime to see all the spooky lights. Who am I?

My top tips for balancing sleep and this spooky holiday

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  1. Plan ahead. Talk about the the evening and bedtime. For toddlers and preschoolers they like to know what to expect.

  2. EXCITEMENT - if your kids are anything like my kids they are very excited for halloween. Find fun ways to embrace the holiday while sticking to your sleep routines. Include bedtime themed books, make up stories, crafts, colouring sheets and games. One of my favourites is to practise trick or treating…great fun but also a great opportunity to work on manners and behaviour.

  3. Halloween Fear - during the days leading up to halloween or even while trick or treating your child might see or hear something that is scary. Bedtime is often when these memories come back and scare us or our children. When your child does wake up scare or worried - the best plan is to show your child empathy no matter how irrational it seems to you. Talking it through will show you care but can also help them work through it. If the issue is a scary movie or character maybe look for a better movie or tv show.

  4. Scaredy cats- is your child a little too young or nervous about the whole idea of halloween? Look for alternative places to show off costumes such as Nursing homes, malls and even community events as less scared ways to celebrate. If you live in Calgary please check out too cute to spook.

  5. Afternoon nap or quiet time - give your kids the opportunity to nap or have quiet time in the afternoon and make it a little longer as you can expect the excitement and sugar will likely make bedtime a little later.

  6. Have your children leave out pyjamas and bedtime story before you leave the house.

  7. I know it’s hard to limit candy on halloween but the associations between sleep and candy are real. A scientific study concluded that ”Sugar intake is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals.” I will give my children one or two to try before we start trick or treating but only after a healthy dinner.

  8. Once you get home turn out the light and bring in the candy. This will limit the number of interruptions you will have during your bedtime routine. Most people respect the no lights or pumpkin rule.

  9. Use your sleep tools - white noise to reduce the outside noise, dark room, bedtime sleep cues - stories, songs and kisses. These are things that help your kids get into the mood for sleep.

  10. Relax - remember this is one night and you can get back on track the next day. Enjoy and make some new memories.

Halloween is lots of fun but making family memories is sometimes as important as a good night's sleep.  I’m always happy to talk you through any concerns.

Happy Sleep

Alison

As always please email me alison@cheekysleeper.com and I am more than happy to help you find the right sleep solution and support to help your family get a better nights sleep.

Spring Time Change - How to Survive!

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Spring isn’t apparent yet in Calgary. We just got another 18 cm of snow this past week on top of the 40 plus centimetres we got in February. I’m starting to wonder if I will ever see my garden again. I long for the carefree days of spring, no boots, coats, hat or mitts as I am sure you are as well.

But not to worry, signs that spring is coming are in the air. Spring officially starts March 20, 2018, we are starting to have warmer spells and are seeing snow starting to melt… Oh and every parent's favourite the spring time change March 11, 2018.

But take a deep breath. This may sound a little scary but it’s not too late to start to prepare your family. Keeping your family well rested is the best place to start.

Work with your partner and come up with a plan. Will you start to adjust your families’ body clock slowly starting on Wednesday or go cold turkey on Sunday morning? Either can work for your family but being prepared with a plan will allow you to more easily make the adjustments.

Most kids will take approximately a week to reset their body clocks. I would not suggest starting sleep training this week or make any other big changes in their life until they have made the adjustment.

Use what you have that works well for you. Use the same sleep cues and routines you already have in place.

  1. Snack and meal times are great clues for your child's internal body clock.

  2. Bedtime and nap routines - keep these routines in place. 

  3. Keep your sleep location consistent.

  4. Keep the sleep location dark. This is a great time to have blackout blinds. They were one of the best investments we ever made for our kids bedroom windows. Alternatively you can also use black garbage bags, cardboard and painters tape.

  5. An ‘okay to wake clock’ will also be a help to preschoolers and toddlers. They are a visual cue for them that it’s time to wake up.

  6. An early bedtime will also help make up for any lost sleep after the time change.

  7. Get outside. Sunlight will help reset your child's internal body clock. Okay yeah it's cold here but a short walk or open windows will also help .

If you want to start to prepare your child earlier start adjusting bedtime on the Wednesday before the time change by advancing bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until the time change.  Try offering an extra few minutes in the bath or an extra story or song.

Wednesday Bedtime 7:15pm

Thursday Bedtime 7:30 pm

Friday Bedtime 7:45 pm

Saturday Bedtime 8:00 pm

Sunday Bedtime 7:pm

*Remember if you are moving bedtime you will need to adjust all naps as well.

This can be a rocky few weeks but having a plan for early waking and skipped naps will allow easier transition as you have support in decision making.

Happy Sleep

Alison xx

PS. I’m trained to help if you have trouble with this adjustment or any other sleep issues. I’m always available to set up a free 15 minute sleep consult. Contact me today.