May 20, 2018
I recently came across the following quote “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ― Maya Angelou This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.

The Light Night Bedtime Games

This post has been inspired by the fact that, I am sitting here writing whilst also going through the game of the bedtime routine with little Mr - trying hard to get him to rest and go to sleep...

So, you may have seen a post or three on the site talking about our bedtime fun and games with little Mr. He really fights us at bedtime not to go to sleep. You may have read that we're going through the sleep clinic process at the moment - we had a home visit around a week and a half ago to assess that part.

However, I think the worst part of the year, for sleep, is now upon us, the light nights.

Too much light for sleep

I think most, if not every, parents have difficulty when the days are long and light. We all look forward to the summer months, the warmth (in the UK anyhow) to get away from those cold winter blues. However, it brings with it the long light days and nights here in the UK.

In the longest months, the light is with us to a good 10pm. However, the worst is when we try for our kiddies bedtimes, around say 8pm. They see its still light and must think 'It's not bedtime yet!'. Least that is what we were told by our eldest, and we think little Mr must think it too.

It means long, tiring, bedtime sessions - especially when you already have quite long bedtime routines anyhow. In the lighter months, it can take more than 2 hours of our time returning him back to bed. Tiring and also means no adult time too.

So what can you do?

We've tried a number of things, none that have really helped us too much - but there again, he is similarly active all year round, which is why we're going through the sleep clinic.

That said, here are the few things we have tried - some that may be of help to you.

  1. Blackout blind and blackout curtains. We doubled up on the blackout window material in a hope to try and darken the room. It does make it a little darker, however, little Mr goes and looks out of the windows so defeats the purpose. However, you may have more luck. It's all about darkening the room to hide the light outside.
  2. Night time/ Daytime clock. So, we were told about these clocks by one of the support workers we have had. The Gro Clock Sleep Trainer clock (as in the one in this Amazon Affiliate Link) basically shows a moon and stars when its night and Sun when its day. The idea is that they look at the clock, see moon and stars and know its bedtime.
  3. Lullaby music. One suggestion we had was to play lullaby music to try and make little Mr tired. It didn't work for us... but some may find it useful
  4. Play white noise. Another suggestion was to play white noise (you can get apps on the phone). Again, not the most effective, but free to give it a try.
  5. Try and tire him out before bed with a burst of energy play. This did work on occasion, however - most times we found it didn't and just gave him more energy to play.

Those are just 5 of the things we have tried, you may find some of these suggestions useful in your endeavour to get your little one to sleep.

Next steps

So, for use, the next steps are the sleep clinic outcome. This will hopefully help us get him to sleep - and to stay asleep all night (we're having nice early wake-up calls too at this moment).

For you, if you looking for ideas to help your little ones get to sleep with light nights - try the blackout blinds, curtains, see if you can make the room dark. You may want to try the day/night time clock. Ultimately though, you may end up doing as we do and continue to put back into bed until they are asleep.

I wish all of you luck...

Related Posts:

I recently came across the following quote “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ― Maya Angelou This is my new goal in life. Not to conform to be normal, but to be amazing and I hope to inspire you to be amazing too.

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41 comments on “The Light Night Bedtime Games”

    1. Yes, bedtime seems to be that time when they just want to push the boundaries. We've had issues for years but finally, go to see the sleep clinic. Had the initial consultation, they said it sounded like we had tried everything. They did the home visit so hoping to get some help. It can be so draining as you well know...

      Even as I type this, I hear our son banging on the window sill, headboard, floor and bouncing on the bed 🙂

    1. Me too ? and in while waiting we now have under the mattress ties for the bedsheets he keeps stripping off and trying velcro to keep mattress on.

      The fun of bedtime hehe

  1. Hopefully the sleep clinic will come up with some other strategies you can use that'll be more successful to help you all get a good night's sleep. (Gosh, that just sounds so inadequate but ...)

    1. They are brilliant. Unfortunate for us now is our little Mr is old enough to get up and look out. Not something our daughter ever did 🙂

  2. Bedtime never gets easier! With teens, they now go to bed after me and I can’t then get them up in the morning!
    When they were little, we used black out blinds which did help a bit but I do remember those times very well! Good luck. #dreamteam

    1. I think our 9 year old daughter has hit the teens ?

      Little Mr just like being active and pulling bed apart. The 3 hours of fun putting mattress back on, sheets back on etc hehe

  3. Have always struggled with my 3 children around the concept of the need to go to sleep and bedtimes. Have blamed myself and poor parenting skills so many time but there is a sneaky little voice inside that says I would not want to be forced to sleep and I pretty much think that is probably impossible anyway. Mine sleep when they are tired and it works for us most of the time. Having said that I really look forward to hearing about your experiences with the sleep clinic #DreamTeam

  4. My little boy tells me every summer evening that it’s still morning and not bedtime! The light just confuses them I think. Though he still has to have natural light in his room or the the landing light on going to bed anyway! So I can only assume his body clock is telling him to sleep! Who knows? I hope you can get some help so your boy can get more sleep and you can have more evening time to relax #dreamteam

  5. in our experience the darker the room the better. we live in the city so have invested in blackout curtains and blinds, they work wonders, does make it difficult when staying somewhere without them though #dreamteam

  6. Have you ever tried the Floppy Sleep Game? It is downloadable on itunes and is by Patti Teel. It is as it sounds a game that the children are talked through by Patti. For them it seems fun, but is actually a process of relaxation and almost meditation. It ends with a lullaby which I know you said you had tried, but the game seemed to be the clincher for our children. My eldest used to take hours to get to sleep before getting this. I would marry Patti Teel it changed our lives!! #DreamTeam

  7. People think I'm crazy when I say I'd prefer summer if we could keep the weather but also have dark evenings, but bedtime is hell on earth in my house some days, thankfully last night my youngest fell asleep right away at bedtime, but the other 2 drove me crazy till about 10.30 even with dark curtains.

    1. I do understand. We usually get little Mr running around and various other things till going on 10.30 most nights. Then soon as light come in he awake again at early hours. Often though one of nights he will crash out earlier due to late night and early mornings. It's certainly hard work though as you know

  8. We struggled so much with getting our son to sleep and the only thing that has really made an improvement was blackout blinds! They work so well that we've even invested in travel blackout blinds! We have tried tiring him out as well, but it just seemed to get him more hyped up and I'm the one that ends up crashing out early! haha. #DreamTeam

  9. We have tried everything to get our daughter to go to bed and sleep but nothing works she hates being alone and if she doesn't have a person with her she won't sleep. People suggested co-sleeping but that just isn't something I want to do as I don't believe it is healthy for mine and my partners relationship or sleep. I hope you find a solution that works for you. #Dreamteam

    1. Our daughter used to be like that, I would have to lay down on the floor beside her till went to sleep. Little Mr doesn't have that problem, he's just go too much energy I think 🙂

  10. Blackout blinds are a great idea. We’ve had ours for quite a bit, but they’ve only really made a difference as part of a joint effort together with other methods of encouraging sleep. It can be quite tough and definitely tiring! You’ll get there in the end. Thanks for being a fab host on the #dreamteam ?

    1. So true, blackout curtains are one element for sure. That said, having had a discussion with his SEN teacher, they think that what he is doing is not per say playing up, more of a he doesn't understand and has too much energy. So last few days our bedtime routine has been moved to later with plenty of high energy bouncing before to get it out of his system. Will see how that works 🙂

  11. I have been battling bedtime with my 2yr old for the past 3 months. Bedtime at 7 means she's still climbing the walls at gone, 11. Only thing I had about British summer time #dreamteam

    1. Yes the light nights can be a real pain. With my daughter at that age I had to stay with her. But even now both of ours still fight the sleep times because of the light nights. Don't think it ever stops

  12. Oh Sean, I wish I had some great advice for you, but my kinder are probably two of the worst examples of sleepers in all of the galaxy! We even hired a sleep doula to help us at one point -- she left freakishly screaming, saying she has never seen anything like our girls! Keep at it and keep us posted. Like eating, when they are tired enough, they will doze off -- preferably before you do! #dreamteam xo

  13. I think you're on the right track - I've never had one of the day/night clocks but a couple of friends swear by them, although more to keep the kids in bed in the morning if they wake up early. I have tried hard before to cut out the light - I kind of need to do it for myself too - with blackout blinds and curtains. Lullaby or relaxation/sleep music has worked to a point, although I also think it can serve as more of a distraction in some cases. The only thing you've not mentioned - though I suspect you do it, is have a routine. Once you start to follow a routine you can tell your body and brain it's any time of day you like - the airlines use this trick too - and it's mostly based around food. If you eat a particular meal e.g. bedtime snack - your body will believe it's bedtime. I wonder if anyone knows parents from northern Canada or Iceland for some tips too - they really suffer with the light at night.

    1. We've thought about one of those day/night clocks. Not sure little Mr would understand it, but maybe something to try. We're tried few different routines - this is second one where we've been advised to do some high energy. That said, tonight its now up to 2 hours and still not asleep... 🙂 We keep trying though.

  14. I used to struggle with my kids at bedtime as well. My youngest was especially difficult to put down. My oldest, who has Autism, never really gave us a problem because he thrives on routine and he knew when it was bedtime. We rarely had to even remind him of it. We have dark curtains in their room for this reason though. But it was still tough for my youngest. He was a bound of energy until at least 11pm every night. #DreamTeam

  15. Ben is a great sleeper but the light outside is just making it hard!!! Unfortunately in his room, his window is right against the wall so when we have the window open (it opens sideways) it just lets it all in and at 10pm last night it was still bright in his room! How can you be mad at a sleepy toddler who gets little sleep due to the sky! Bring on darker days haha #dreamteam

  16. Ah bedtime how I know it well. In this house we all crash out at the same time. This means no parent alone time in the evening! The blackout blind enables baby to sleep in though! #DreamTeam

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