We’ve never been lucky enough to secure a full nights’ sleep from both of our children, at least one requests our company at some point during the night. This is something we’ve come to accept and, although it’d be absolutely amazing to not be woken by a grizzly child, we’re in no rush to change anything. The one thing our children have blessed us with (other than the daily giggles) is regular lay-ins. We’re very lucky, our children tend to sleep longer in the mornings. Enough sleep is important for our childrens health and development, but it’s also equally important for us parents too. There are ways you can encourage your children to sleep longer in the morning and receive some well-deserved respite for yourself. It’s taken us a while to master this, but after many months of fabulous, lazy mornings I wanted to share some tips to help other parents achieve that lie-in we all crave.
I’m a believer that sleep breeds sleep, an earlier bedtime has never meant a later wake-time. Unfortunately. Some of the best mornings we’ve had, have been a result of an early bedtime (sometimes 6.30pm). Any excuse to ditch the children a little earlier, pour a glass of wine and settle in front of the TV for the evening. A huge bonus that you also won’t be woken at an unsightly hour by a grizzly baby/toddler. During the day we also tend to have the long nap in the afternoon, but no later than 3pm. This has always meant they’re rested, but tired enough for bed. Unfortunately our toddler doesn’t nap, we play Lego while the baby naps.
Another thing that worked for us (which does involve getting out of bed, sorry) is tricking your baby into thinking it’s still night-time. This is really sneaky, I know, but needs-must and all that. They can be tricked by feeding them a bottle of milk and making sure you have some good-quality blackout blinds fitted in their room, such as VELUX.
Following on from my previous point, blackout blinds (for us and many parents) are a ‘must’ in childrens rooms. We have outside lights, car lights and general daylight to compete with when it comes to keeping our childrens rooms dark, not to mention the early sunrise and late sunset in summer. Without blackout blinds, we’d not only have children up throughout the night, but they wouldn’t go to bed and would be waking up too early for me to function (yet they’re full of beans). We’re big fans of VELUX blinds here, but I’ll let you in to a secret, you can get HUGE savings on them here: https://www.roofblinds.co.uk/ (I’d call it ‘investing in a lie-in’). We also have a GRO-Blind which is brilliant when we’re on holiday or visiting family during nap-time.
Does your baby or toddler ever wake-up happy? I often hear our children singing or chatting to themselves in their cot. If this is pre 7am, I might scream a little in my head, but generally I leave them. Sometimes, sometimes, they’re more than happy to be alone for nearly an hour. Sometimes, just sometimes, they fall back to sleep, hurrah! This is a tough one for parents, do we stay in bed while they are? Or do we grasp that time with both hands, go crazy and get some ironing done? I will let you guess which I favour.
Key points for your toddlers’ to sleep longer:
- An early bed-time, following a routine (ours is around 7pm)
- The ‘it’s still night-time’ trick
- Blackout blinds
- If they’re happy, leave them be
Eventually children adjust to new routines, this could mean many mornings where your children sleep longer. A lie-in will never quite mean what it used to, but even an extra hour in bed would be heaven, right?