It is unfathomable that my first baby is turning FIVE in only two days! Jethro’s due date was October 31st, but I swore throughout my entire pregnancy that the odds of him being born on Halloween would be null. Not only was Jethro born on time, he made his grand entrance into the world just after 8 PM EST. As people all around the nation were going door to door dressed up in their costumes and trick-o-treating, copious amounts of candy thrown into interminable bins, I was busy pushing out a 7 lb, 8 oz baby boy.
With Jethro’s birthday only two days away, I have partnered up with Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Carolina Romanyuk to share some sleep tips, not just for Halloween, but also as we approach Daylight Savings. I don’t know about you, but I still have sleep issues with my three-year old, Brooks; he simply refuses to sleep without me. I am one of those moms who must stay in bed with their kids until they fall asleep, night after night. Not only is this not healthy anymore for them as they get older, it is affecting my own personal time and any hope for quiet moments with the hubby. I envy my friends who can tuck their kids into bed, give them a kiss goodnight, and close the door. I could list the million things I would be able to do before falling asleep if I had it that good. On the other spectrum, I am the mom who sneaks out of her kids’ bedroom – when I don’t fall asleep with them – only to be dragged back into their bed a few hours later when they wake up a realize I am missing. It is a vicious cycle, and I know it has to end.
Hopefully your sleep schedule and routine is better than mine. I would love to hear any advice you may have!
Below are a few tips to help you with your kid(s) sleep this fall.
Halloween Sleep Health Tips:
- After a long evening of fun and candy eating kids are wired. Their cortisol levels are up sky high requiring outside factors to help their body start the wind down process for sleep. Instead of crashing in front of the TV, one thing they can do is wind down by listening to sleep stories. A favorite, Moshi Twilight for kids, is highly beneficial. www.Moshi-Twilight.com
- If a child is amped up after watching a scary part of a movie, tell them to just imagine that when the scene is done, the Director says “CUT” and the goblins, witches, or whomever all stroll to the snack bar and start chatting and eating chips. It lets them know that it is all make believe and is all done for fun. You can even use YouTube to show the child what the backstage of the movie set looks like with those actors and characters.
- Halloween is all in the head and plays with emotions. The adrenaline rush of the fear is what people gravitate to. For kids, especially sensitive ones, what can work well is to have them recreate a scary image into a funny one. For example, they can visualize a scary monster now dressed in maybe a hot pink tutu, a glittery bow and bright pink nails who now dances lightly all around.
- Plan for an early bedtime the next day.
- Wind down the body with a story in the background. Using your sense of hearing of soothing sounds connects your body and mind to start to wind down.
- Talk about the experience when bedtime is approaching
- Dim the lights in the room
Daylight Savings Sleep Health Tips:
This time of year of course everything shifts later. Bedtime moves one hour later than normal. It is generally far easier to fall asleep one hour after your normal bedtime, than one hour prior (for Spring).
For babies around 8 months plus, they can’t adjust with such a long awake time. Shifting their schedule every few days by 15 minutes is an effective gradual route. Focusing heavy on their routine should be soothing, using tools like darkness and winding their mind and body down with sleep stories, such as the app Moshi Twilight. www.Moshi-Twilight.com
Side note: when using sleep stories electronically, place the device under the covers or flat down and away from eye sight so the screen isn’t visible. The blue light that emits from the screen is what suppresses our sleep hormone.
Here’s how you can adjust bedtime a few days before the time change:
15 minute incremental adjustments. Bedtime becomes 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 8:00 PM, which by the post-DST clock is the “new” 7:00 PM. The same happens in the morning – 6:00, 6:15, 6:30, 7:00 AM (try to leave them in bed until your target wake-time). In four days, your child has adjusted to the new daylight savings.
For older children this is fun because they get to go to bed an hour later. So if your baby previously slept from 7:00 PM – 6:00 AM, they’re now going to bed at 7:00 PM (clock time, 8:00 PM body time) and sleeping till 5:00 AM (clock time, 6:00 AM body time) for a net loss of 1 hour. It can take a few days to adjust to this shift but most do fairly readily within a week.