A night with fireworks can be a stressful time for anyone with children or pets and as the weather turns colder we know that Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve are both just around the corner. You may worry how your baby or toddler will get a good night’s sleep while the noise from the fireworks is going on outside so I have come up with some top tips for helping your baby, and you, get a good night’s sleep using my experience as a baby sleep coach.
1. Time your baby’s sleep just right.
The deeper the sleep your baby is in, the less likely it is that the bangs and screeches outside will disturb them. For parents, this might mean moving your child’s routine slightly earlier so that they will be asleep early enough to have fallen into a deep sleep long before the fireworks begin.
2. Let them know what is happening.
If your child is a bit older, you can prepare them by explaining about the loud noises that they may hear if they do happen to wake up in the night. Let them know that it is nothing to worry about and they are fine to go back to sleep. You may even want to show your child some videos or sounds of the fireworks on quiet to put it into a more simple context for them.
3. Change up your bookshelf
As well as the examples above for aiding your child’s understanding, you could team this with sharing a few books with your child about the dark and fireworks celebrations to help illustrate the point that fireworks are not scary and the noises are nothing to fear. You can show them pictures of fireworks to show how beautiful they can be and also show illustrations of children enjoying a fireworks display.
4. Disguise the noise
What makes a white noise machine so great is that is can hide any ambient noises (especially surprise or sudden and unusual ones as referenced in this study on the effect of noise on sleep) that might otherwise wake your child during the night. Consider using one if you don’t already and maybe even turn it up so they have the subtle sounds of white noise to fall asleep to, rather than the potentially more scary sounds of loud fireworks going off. You can read the pros and cons of white noise here.
5. Keep the routine the same
It may be tempting to shorten or skip naps in the hope your baby will go to sleep a little earlier, but it’s the consistency of their routine, as well as making sure they don’t become too over-tired, that will help your child to sleep as they normally would.
6. Plan food for sleep
Did you know that some foods can help your child to have a good nights sleep? Make your bonfire night tea and snacks up of foods that contain melatonin, vitamin B6 and vitamin C to help aid sleep. For more information, read our earlier blog on foods that will help your baby sleep better.
7. Be prepared for bed
If you are wanting to enjoy some firework festivities, then go fully prepared with things your child needs for bedtime. Get them changed into their pyjamas and complete any other of your usual night time activities before you leave the celebrations, and you might be lucky enough that they fall asleep on the way home and then be able to transfer them straight to bed. For children who wake up when you transfer them, do a shortened version of your usual night time routine with them to send them back soundly to sleep. You could try playing an audiobook on the car drive home to replace their bedtime story, for instance. Hopefully combined with the previous tips, your child will find that even though it is bonfire night that sleep comes as easily to them as any other night.
8. Stay calm and control your emotions
Probably the most important tip is to think about how you react yourself. Your child will sense your anxieties or frustrations, so let them wash over your head so your child can feel calm, relaxed and positive, just like you. Just remember, fireworks do not last forever and normal sleep will resume before you know it. Also don’t fuss or assume your child will be frightened as this will actually encourage this to be true.
Frequently Asked Questions On How Can I Make My Child Sleep Better:
- Lee et al, ‘Effect of Noise on Sleep and Autonomic Activity in Children according to Source’ (National library of Medicine, 09 August 2021) <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8476937/> accessed 31 October 2022.
F Jiang, ‘Sleep and Early Brain Development’ (Karger, June 2020) <https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/508055> accessed 31 October 2022