Expectant parents are often warned about the challenging months that are to follow; night feeds, colic, sleepless nights. What they aren’t told is what happens after the ‘baby’ years and that often, for parents, the sleep deprivation continues well into childhood. Just like in our case, my husband and I still co-sleep with our three kids.
Often a one-off event becomes a bad habit that’s hard to stop and parents can reach breaking point. Aside from the tension lack of sleep causes between spouses, a recent BBC News article claimed that sleep deprivation costs the UK 40 billion pounds a year with employees suffering for bad nights either phoning in sick or not working efficiently.
This is sometimes easier said than done and parents are often too tired to tackle the problem leading to night after night of uncomfortable bed-sharing for the whole family. Sleep disturbances often start at around 2 or 3 when changes are happening in the child's life; Starting nursery, potty training, friendship issues or a move of house can all trigger something that causes a young child to become needy at night and family life to become fraught.
Often a room re-vamp can be a good start to getting a child out of the parents bed and back into their ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ room. A cot-bed with the side taken off may be big enough for a child up to the age of 6 but it doesn’t provide a very inspiring or comfortable sleep space for a growing.
Tidying, decluttering and adding a few new features to a child's bedroom can work wonders. A night light is a great way of providing comfort and a few rugs and throws can soften the edges of what may appear a frightening space child's mind during the nighttime hours.
The key piece is of course the bed. Choosing something comfortable, creative and safe can be a challenging and with an overwhelmingly large market to chose from it’s important to pick something that reflects a child's interests and imagination. Rocket ships, racing cars, princess castles - there is a lot of choice out there.
Cuckoolands collection of toddler beds are a good example of beds ideal for that in between age. Offering bright and colourful designs they bridge the gap between cot-bed and full sized single. Themed beds can offer a great day-time play space for a child and their friends and a secure place to dream at night.
With the transformation complete it’s important to introduce a new sleep routine alongside the aesthetic transformation. Less screen time before bed, calming pre-bedtime activities, a bath and soothing stories can all help to encourage a child to sleep happily and deeply in their own room, and hopefully stay their.
Sleep changes don’t happen overnight but by parents and child reclaiming their own sleep space everyone in the family will reap the benefits.