Sleep is a very important thing. When you have little ones, sleep can be a challenge. I want to share some of the items we have used with our little guys along with some things that friends have used for help at bedtime. Also a disclaimer: None of the things are magic! You will not use them and BAM your kid sleeps 12+ hours for the next 18 years. If you do come across something like that, please let me know. You will still have all-nighters with teething, sickness and/or middle of the night cries when there have been bad dreams. These are simply things we used to help our boys embrace bedtime.
There are two things that I am a firm believer in when it comes to sleep for my boys: darkness and controlled sound.
Blackout Curtain: We have always had a blackout blind in our son’s room to help at afternoon nap time and summer bed time. I also wanted to find something that we could take with us no matter where we were and that we could adjust to whatever we needed at the time. I discovered Gro Anywhere Blind, which has been fantastic. This curtain adapts to small and big windows (or some doors) by using its various velcro pieces to gather up and become smaller or disconnect and stretch out. It also has suction cups around the perimeter of the entire curtain so that it can fasten securely but not permanently to surfaces. (Here is a link to a video about the Gro Anywhere Blind.)
Sound Machine: When you live in tight living quarters we quickly realized the need for something to cancel out the noise. A sound machine has been great with both of our boys while living in small spaces, but also to have when we are traveling. When we looked at sound machines the one that I would have purchased was the HoMedics Sound Spa. It is small, portable, and had the option of battery or adapter for power. Now I say if we purchased because we went another, cheaper route. We currently use an old iPod (like the first generation one) on a portable speaker for a sound machine. We downloaded a free app, called Relax Melodies. In the app you get ample choices of neutral, relaxing sounds to create your own sound machine. Our current favourite is Isolating Fan, White Noise, and Rain combined. We even have the app on our current phones. I use it if I am in the car and the boys fall asleep, if we are at a friend’s house at nap time, or sometime even when Little Man is in the stroller at nap time and just needs familiar noises to settle down. I love that the sound machine gets kids use to noise but in a comforting way while they sleep regardless of what is happening nearby.
Night Light: Strangely enough the light issue was never an issue with us until Big Man turned 2. He had always like it completely dark in his room, there was just a touch of glow from the sound machine but that was it. Around his 2nd birthday he started having trouble getting to sleep. After a bit of trial and mostly error we discovered it was too dark for him, and he had realized that he was not the biggest fan of the dark. When I began the search for a night-light I did not want something that I had to plug-in and then it burned brightly all night. After looking at all the options we settled on the Cloud B animal and we picked the CloudB Twilight Turtle. We chose this because it projects constellations onto the walls and ceiling but is not super bright. It has a few different colors to choose from and best of all, it is timed so the light turns off after 45 minutes. It was the perfect solution for our Big Man. We also have the CloudB Tranquil Animal that we received as a gift for our Little Man. We do use it at night when we are putting our Little Man down, but mainly as a light so I don’t trip over something on my way out the door. I usually only have it on as we are doing stories and milk but turn it off before I go out because with both of my boys they find the water projection a little too stimulating at night. On the tranquil animals you can set the brightness as well as choose if the light moves to create a wave-like effect. With both of my sons the water projection got them so excited that they kept themselves awake watching the light show.
Sleep Sack: A Sleep sack was something that we temporarily had success with when our oldest was a baby. We used it for a few months, until he figured out how to get out of them. Yes, he could get out of a snap one and a zip one, but there seems to be a lot more options now than there were 5 years ago. We have not used one with our youngest son because he despises having anything extra on him other than his PJs. There are a tons of different sleep sacks out there. Different weights and sizes. Both of my boys run rather warm so the sleep sacks that I had were the lighter weight ones. Here are a few of the brands that I would suggest looking into if you think a sleep sack might benefit your child:
- Grobag Baby Sleep Bag (they have a variety of sizes for different ages)
All of these things have helped us in the various stages of our young guys sleep development. What are some of the products you use to help sooth your little ones for bed time?