Friday 5 November 2010

Children's Bedtime Lights

In our old house at bedtime the issue was having my youngest not being able to get to sleep without the bedside light on and the eldest not getting to sleep with it on. A staggered bedtime helped get around this but I would often discover that my son had turned the light back on in the middle of the night.

When we moved my mum suggested putting in a night light in the children's new bedroom to make for a softer light. I ended up having to put in one at each end of the room before he was satisfied that the room wasn't too dark. 

Then my daughter started refusing to go to sleep with the bedside light off saying she was too scared and got nightmares. If I turned it off she screamed and sobbed and just got out of bed to turn it on again. Of course this results in her staying awake for several hours after bedtime.

At school they have been reading The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson. The teacher was trying to get children to try turning off the light and seeing that it isn't completely black and scary in the same way Plop the Owl learns to love the dark. My daughter was very upset about the thought of this "homework" but I thought it was a good chance to try to wean her off the light.

So on the first night I turned off the bedside light, left the night lights on, the door was ajar and landing light left on. As I got downstairs I heard her thudding of her bunk bed, slamming the door and turning the light on.

The second night she was in my bedroom and I turned off my light and sat with her whilst talking through how our eyes adjust to the dark. She agreed it wasn't that bad and that she could see where things were. I left the curtains not fully closed so the moonlight was in the room. I reassured her that it was perfectly safe to sleep with the lights off and left. Not long after I noticed that the light was back on again.

Now I know that the majority of adults don't sleep with the lights so should I just let the light thing grow out naturally or is there anything I can do to speed up the process?


  1. I'm really probably not a good one to ask.

    We encourage the landing light to be left on incase they wake up and Little Man goes awandering (which he tends to do frequently)..
    I'm not sure how old your daughter is but I'm sure she will grow out of it. (But then I'm also not an expert on these subjects).

    My preference until I had children was lights out but I do think it provides some comfort to the child too, like they're not alone.

    Beth x

  2. I'm fine without the light when people are around - on my own its lights on all the way.

    We just used to leave the door open with our bedside light on so they went to sleep in semi light and we tend to leave the bathroom light on so they can find it if they need to in the night. They also have far too many torches that they can use if they want and some glowy stars that do give off a little light, at least when they are going to sleep

  3. Both boys have lights on their wall by their beds from Ikea, although neither of them had lights when they were baby's, both wanted lights when they were toddlers. I guess the need to a light will deminish as they get older, but I will leave it down to them. I hate light, so I keep my door shut


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