For so many children, going to bed in the dark can be frightening - for months they don't mind going to bed with the lights out and suddenly they develop a fear of darkness, are worried about what's under the bed or nervous of what's lurking in the wardrobe. Here are a few activities to reassure them and lessen the threat of darkness terrors by playing a few games that use a torch to light the way.
Hunt the teddies - Hide a few teddies around the room prior to bed time and turn off the lights. With a torch search for them together and discover their hiding places. You could make it a bit crazy by hiding some things that don't belong in a bedroom. Hide a few wooden spoons from the kitchen or new toilet rolls or plastic food bowls. You could hide some family photos too and see who can be discovered.
Who's under the bed? - Show your little ones that there is nothing under the bed to be scared of. Ask them to choose a couple of favourite teddies to stay under the bed and look after the bed during the night. They could easily report back in the morning that there was nothing to be afraid of. Similarly put a couple of trusty teddies in the wardrobe to stand guard during the night.
Finding things - Another activity for slightly older children would be to find really small things like small pompoms or cotton wool balls. Give them a collecting bucket and tell them they need to find all 12 pompoms that you have hidden. Then try it again but this time in the dark, just using the torch to see.
Sleeping Mummy - Hide yourself in a room and cover with a blanket or toys and see if your little one can find you just using a torch. Pretend to be sleeping when they do discover you. Try to avoid jumping out to startle them though... the aim is to build their confidence rather than scare them!
It's an exciting day when you bring your newborn baby home from hospital, hopefully you already have a bed ready for them?! Initially you will probably want them in your own room, and a 'Moses' basket is plenty big enough for your new bundle of joy. Moses baskets may be sold with or without a stand, and stand options include fixed or rocking. You don't require a stand; and rocking stands cost a little bit more than fixed ones, but it's good to be able to comfort your baby in their sleep with a gentle rocking.
As your baby grows out of a Moses basket, you have a choice between a cot and a cot bed. A cot is designed to be safe and to contain your child from falling out of bed during the night, and the sides are permanent and fixed. A cot bed offers the same safety as a cot, but is designed with removable sides, and often a headboard that can be reduced, so that it can convert into an undersized single bed. A cot will generally suit a child up to the age of 2 whereas a cot bed will suit a child until around the age of 5.
After a cot or cot bed you will want to buy a single bed for your children. Single beds come in two widths; standard width is 3 foot wide, but you can also buy narrower singles that are just 2'9", perhaps more appropriate for a very small room.
If you have two or more children then you might want to consider bunk beds. Although sleeping in a top bunk is not recommended until the age of 6, you can still buy detachable bunk beds sooner, where each bunk is a self contained single that is also designed to stack later. This arrangement saves you buying two singles and later buying a whole additional bunk bed.
Whatever their size, beds are an expensive purchase and you don't want to have to buy more than you need! Plan ahead and think how best to get the best use from your beds, and how to minimise the cost over the first few years of your children's lives!
There are lots of essentials that you'll want to have ready to welcome a new baby into the world! If you are expecting a baby, take time in the lead up to research the items that you need and seek out what you want. Don't forget that baby's don't always arrive to plan and may arrive early, so try not to leave everything until the last minute. Most likely you'll receive gifts from friends when your baby is born, but you don't know what you might receive unless friends and family consult you first!
Here is a checklist of some of the things you may want to have ready for your new baby:-
- You probably want a moses basket and blankets for the first bed and later a new cot and bedding, perhaps a cot mobile too
- You may want blackout blinds for the bedroom
- You need to buy baby's bottles, teething rings and a toothbrush
- You need lots of clothes for day and night as well as socks and booties
- You need plenty of nappies and muslins, a changing mat, baby wipes and cotton wool
- You should have some toys and fabric books suitable for baby's
- You may want a hairbrush and nail scissors
- You may want to buy some books to consult to help you with the first months
- You'll find a baby bath easier than a full sized one
- You'll want a pram, car seat and stair gates, perhaps a play den, fire guard and other safety items
- You'll need a high chair for feeding before long
There are lots of things you need during the first few months, but plan ahead and enjoy buying all these things in the run up to the birth of your new baby!
Comforters come in all shapes and sizes: it could be a favourite teddy, a blanket or muslin, a soft toy or even a favourite sock or top! Whatever it is, if it helps your baby to sleep, it's probably worth having. Studies have shown that babies with comforters of some sort do sleep better than those that go to bed with nothing. When children have a favourite item or toy, they are more able to self soothe if they do wake up in the night, and this is essential to getting back to sleep on their own.
Parents who rock, cuddle or feed their baby to sleep find in the most part that when they wake in the night, they have to go through the same rigmarole during the night. This is the only way that the baby will go back to sleep. When they have a comforter of some sort, they manage to get to sleep independent of you being there.
For many children a comforter is an effective way of dealing with anxiety or stressful situations. It soothes them and is a comfort. It helps them deal with the situation.
What to choose as a comforter?
You may find that your baby chooses their own comforter independent of your choice. They may always reach for the muslin or ask for a particular teddy. However, if you are trying to decide on something, try to follow these tips...
How to choose a comforter?
1. Choose something that is easily replaceable (ie teddy that is from a high street store or a muslin that is indistinguishable from others.)
2. Choose something specifically designed for babies to use at night time: i.e. not a wooden train or a hard toy that could hurt them.
3. Choose something that is age appropriate i.e. soft toys designed for babies (with no loose eyes or buttons that could come off during the night and present a choking hazard).
4. Choose something that is soft and warm to touch; something that can be stroked or snuggled into.
5. Chose something pale in colour because bright, highly contrasting colours stimulate babies and do not help them sleep.
6. Make sure it's washable!
When should a baby be given a comforter?
You can place a small soft toy in the cot from a very early age. Try holding it close against your skin for a while before bed so it takes on your smell. This can add to the comfort for babies, as well as being able to see it.
Children between 6 months and 2 years will begin to form a real attachment to objects and will be more keen to use a comforter. They can have it at night or when they are somewhere new or in situations when they feel anxious.
By 3 years, they may only need it at night, but be led by them.
By age 5, most children have favourites, but the need to rely on one comforter tends to have passed. Try not to feel pressure from other children or parents to give up the comforter. If it's doing it's job, keeping your little one sleeping through the night or helping them cope with stressful situations, then keep it!
Leaving the sanctuary of a cosy, familiar crib and sleeping in a huge, big kid's bed is something some toddlers relish. Others see it as an excuse to create havoc! No bars round the bed means freedom, surely?! How you handle the transition to a proper bed can impact how successful the move is. First, there is no right or wrong time to move a child to a big bed. If your little one has become a mountain goat and is climbing out of the crib, then it may be best to move them for safety's sake. If you are confident they sooth themselves back to sleep if they wake in the night, then this is a good sign they won't trouble you in the dead of night if they happen to wake up!
Roll up a spare duvet next to the bed if you are worried they might fall out. Or, invest in a rail. And, if you're concerned about night time wandering, perhaps put a guard across the bedroom door. Either way make the move exciting and fun! Choose a new duvet together, talk about how grown up it is to sleep in a big bed and give loads of praise each time you have a good night's sleep. You could print a ToucanLearn sticker chart and give stickers for good sleeping. Or, award a personalized certificate to celebrate a week of successful sleeping in a big bed. Good luck!