Updated: Dec 1, 2020
I’m tired of this virus, said my 4 year old this morning. All this staying at home, not doing much, it’s surprisingly tiring; not least because for many of us it’s seriously affecting our sleep.
For kids (and, probably, many adults), the Corona virus feels like the boogeyman or a monster underneath the bed. Something horrible lurking in the shadows that could jump out at us or one of our family at anytime.
These worries might be affecting their sleep but the change in our routines since lockdown could also be having an impact on our kids kip.
I call Sarah the Consistency Queen because she reckons if there’s one wee gem that parents take away from her advice, it’s consistency. In lockdown, our normal routines have been thrown out the window along with our alarm clocks. A third of folk are no longer setting alarms... personally, I've not needed to set an alarm since I had children!
The Sleep Mums (Lockdown) Sleep Survival Guide
Little ones are likely missing out on their usual activities (whether that’s music classes, soft play or nursery days) but it’s important to try and have a balance of physical and mental stimulation during each day and at different times of the day. I have been finding that a wee bit of fresh air (when we can) just before or after dinner really helps them sleep.
Try to stick to similar wake up, nap and bedtime schedules. Kids will take comfort from structure as the world will feel a bit wild right now. Plus, it will make things easier as lockdown (hopefully) begins to ease.
If you feel you need to change the schedule, shift the timings rather than get rid of it completely.
Babies, toddlers and kids may be a little feral right now (mine definitely are) and it’s hard not to let them get away with more than normal because you’re worried about their well being. However it’s really important not to let them take control of bedtimes. I feel into reading my daughter more and more books to ‘help her sleep’ and suddenly her bedtime was 9/10pm. As a result, she was tired and ratty during the day. It’s been a battle to get it back to one story but she’s sleeping bette and I have an evening (for Netflix and Zoom).
Try to use positive language associations "because we are in lockdown and all at home what you have started today we can finish tomorrow". This can be really hard, especially if you’re feeling low and it feels like day 3552490678 of home growing our kids.
If your kids are feeling low try and set aside time during the day to talk about feelings. Don’t leave it until bedtime.
And finally, because there are fewer ‘hooks’ to hang out days on, timers (phones/watches/Alexa) have become essential in Sarah and my homes. We use them to let the kids know what’s coming up and give them time to mentally finish one thing before moving on to the next. They are especially good for potential battle grounds like mealtimes/bath/bedtime*.
*And for the parents countdown to gin o clock.