Cherished Sleep lockdown survival guide
Here is the Cherished Sleep lockdown survival guide. Afterall, a well-rested child who feels secure has a much easier time with change. And lockdown has meant a lot of change, right? I mean, these past 2 -3 weeks have been… surreal, to say the least. So I wanted to get some tips out so you can survive lockdown relatively unscathed.
If you’re in the same boat as most parents around the world, you’ve had to accommodate the fact that you and your children were suddenly and unexpectedly given a different way to live. Life as we know it has changed, and will remain changed for a while yet. And to top it all off, the kids are unable to leave the house for any length of time. Lockdown means stay home.
Now listen, I love my kids. I do. Every parent I know loves their kids more than anything in the world. But that doesn’t mean that having them home all day, every day, for weeks (and months?) at a time, is easy.
You’ll likely all agree that these are extraordinary times, and as such, they require some extraordinary measures to keep everyone sane and halfway functional. For some of us, that probably means some big adjustments to the usual routine.
This whole situation is, obviously, beyond crazy and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do here, I get that. But I wanted to touch base and give you some tips to keep your children feeling secure and rested, and to help you keep your sanity while you’re at it.
Stick to the script
Have you ever wondered why babies can engage in the same (potentially boring for us) little pastime for hours on end? Why a game of peek-a-boo can make them squeal with delight as heartily on the hundredth time as it does on the first? It’s because, at least in part, their expectations are being met.
They watch you put your hands over your face, then think to themselves, “Oh hey! I know what happens next! She’s going to move her hands away, and her face is going to be right there!” And sure enough, the hands drop, Mum gives her the familiar “Peek-a-boo!” and baby thinks to herself, “Oh, I knew it! I just knew that was going to happen!” It’s familiar and it’s reassuring.
Routines give children a sense of security. Knowing what’s on the schedule provides them with a road map for their day, and that knowledge makes them confident and puts their minds at ease. So even though we may need to make some serious concessions, there’s a lot to be said for keeping things predictable and consistent whenever and wherever possible.
Let’s just embrace screen time
In my case, and in the case of nearly every other parent I know, we’ve slightly upped screen time by about three thousand percent. None of us are thrilled about it (I’m a big advocate of screen-free time usually). And I get it – we’d all like to be the Instagram-influencer parents who are using this time to teach our kids to make sourdough bread, write letters to rellies and knit bespoke jumpers for the pets. But as you know in your heart of hearts, social media isn’t always reality. For those of us in the real world, extra screen time for the kids might just be the difference between a peaceful afternoon and a mutual meltdown.
Just one caveat though; screens emit a lot of blue light which can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. So, you can go ahead and let your kids indulge in extra screen time BUT turn them off two hours before bedtime (that’s the screens, not your kids; although if you can find a way to turn your kids off too, I’m all ears).
Early to bed, early to rise…
Now, since many of us are no longer under any obligation to get up for work and school during lockdown, we might start thinking that this is a good opportunity for everybody to catch up on some sleep by turning off the morning alarms. I’m tempted to remove all alarms myself – and to be honest, I have delayed those alarms a little bit later I the morning – but I know sticking to the usual bedtimes and wake up times is really important.
Predictability and structure are, again, sources of comfort for our kids, so even though there’s no morning school or kindy bell, it’s still a good idea to keep things on schedule. Besides, things are eventually going to go back to normal, and trying to get them back onto their usual schedule is going to be a challenge. You’re better off just sticking to the tried and true.
Keep the dinner bell
When it comes to mealtimes, again, try to stay as consistent as possible. Few things affect our bodies’ sense of timing like when we eat, so allowing meal and snack times to fluctuate too much can upend your little one’s schedule. Sugary snacks will likely leave them with too much energy come bedtime and the occasional upset tummy, so keep an eye on how much junk food they’re getting into.
Embrace your creative side
With everyone being housebound, your kids are likely going to have a ton of excess energy. With no playground to frolic in and no friends to chase around, you’re going to need to get creative to help them tire themselves out. Getting outside is a good idea. Sunlight will help maintain the circadian rhythm and a bike ride or even a local brisk walk can help reduce feelings of confinement and keep you and your kids from going stir crazy.
Building a temporary indoor play area out of furniture and cushions can be a great project to keep your kids occupied and provide them with some stuff to climb on too.
Deep breath in, whoosh out
For older kids, some deep breathing exercises during their bedtime routine can help to settle them down at the end of the day. I’m not suggesting they start meditation classes or anything, but deep breathing games can actually be a lot of fun! Start during the daytime and build up to bedtime if breathing techniques are new. Check out Coping Skills for Kids for a ton of great ideas that will help during lockdown survival.
Outside of the sleep realm, there are a couple of other tips I’d like to offer you. As you undoubtedly know, kids are perceptive little creatures, and they probably know that there’s something serious happening at the moment. They might not bring it up too much, but there’s likely something pinging around in the back of their heads that has them a little bit on edge. This can be amplified if they see that their parents are concerned and on edge as well, so try to keep the atmosphere cheery and light.
I know it’s not easy given the circumstances but stressed out kids aren’t going to improve the situation. If they have questions, of course you should be honest and forthcoming, but your attitude towards things will work wonders in keeping their minds at ease.
Focus on the good stuff
Last but not least, try not to watch the news coverage with the kids around. They’re always listening and hearing terms like, “death toll,” and “fatal disease” is going to increase their stress levels. It’s important to stay informed but do so after they’ve gone to bed.
I look forward to getting back to a time when we can discuss less serious things with each other again. I know we’ll look back at lockdown as one where we all came together (even while we’re so far apart) and we’ve made the best of a really bad situation.
Until then, wash your hands, stay at home, and make the best of this lockdown. Who knows? We may end up remembering this time with some affinity for the opportunity it’s given us to reconnect with our children and even our partners (I mean, unlikely, but it may happen lol).
How have you been surviving at home? Do you have any tips to share to help make it easier during these times? I’d love to hear them.
And if being homebound has highlighted your child’s sleep issues. Rest assured, it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m still working to support my family through these times, so you can reach out when you’re ready. I’ve kept my short calls open along with my initial free calls which are great if you’re interested in knowing more about my sleep packages. My sleep packages are designed to help your child learn to self settle or to to help you solve those more complex sleep issues, and now is a great time to work on sleep. You can book a call HERE. And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for more sleep tips and fun facts.