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
Plan ahead. Talk about the the evening and bedtime. For toddlers and preschoolers they like to know what to expect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have your children leave out pyjamas and bedtime story before you leave the house.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As always please email me firstname.lastname@example.org 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.