Halloween and Your Child's Sleep
Halloween often means FUN, excitement, candy, hyped up kids, and staying up late!
More than anything else, it is the staying up late that does have a negative impact on sleep. A too late bedtime means that children are not only going to be wired from the candy and general excitement. They are also going to be wired from their adorable little brains producing the stimulating hormones that lead to what we know as the “second wind”.
When bedtime is too late, many children will get a “second wind” that actually makes falling asleep physically harder even though they are getting to bed later than usual. Even if a late bedtime leads to “crashing”, it can also mean that sleep is more interrupted, and may end much earlier in the morning than usual. Either way, a too late bedtime tends to result in less cumulative sleep overall as well as a lower quality of sleep. This is one of the many compelling reasons that an early bedtime is such a powerful element in healthy sleep for our children.
Thank goodness one super fun late night is not going to have a significant impact on your child’s overall sleep. Instead, what really matters is that you practice healthy sleep habits with your child at least 80% of the time so that when October 31st rolls around you can loosen up and have fun.
Here are a few tips that should help to facilitate a peaceful Halloween night (after the fun of course!)
Fill your child’s sleep bank for one full week before the fun. Ensure that your child is getting the full amount of sleep they are capable of so that when they stay up late on Halloween, their little brains will be more than capable of handling a few missing hours.
For your verbally advanced toddlers and preschoolers, talk about what they can expect to happen once the Halloween festivities are over. Will you take shoes off and go straight to brushing teeth? Will the bedtime routine be exactly the way it usually is or will there be only ONE book instead of TWO? Make sure to be very clear about what they can expect and hold firmly to your chosen boundaries.
Have realistic expectations. Expect more difficulty transitioning from wake time/play time to sleep time. Make an effort to stay calm, demonstrating the behavior you’re encouraging, and hold lovingly firm to your usual bedtime boundaries.
Lastly, to ensure that one crazy fun and late night doesn’t wreak havoc on their sleep moving forward, it may be wise to offer a temporary extra early bedtime for one or two nights following Halloween to allow their little brains to catch up on previously missed sleep.
If sleep is often a struggle for your baby, toddler, or preschooler, you may be interested in reading more about my top 5 healthy sleep tips.
You might also consider working with me in a one on one capacity to improve your child’s sleep with a comprehensive, evidence based, and personalized plan along with daily support as you reach your sleep goals. To get started, schedule a free 15 minute discovery call.
~Happy Halloween, and Happy Sleeping!~