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Case Study: Early Risers

Kathy is a 34 year old mother of two. She stays at home to look after her little boy, who is 18 months old, and her 4 year old girl but can’t remember the last time she got to sleep past 5am. Kathy’s husband, Mark, works long hours and often doesn’t get home from work until after 8pm. The children go to bed around 6:30pm, so are usually asleep by the time their father gets home.

Once Mark and Kathy have had dinner, talked about their respective days and watched some television, it’s usually around 11pm and Kathy tries to make sure she’s in bed by then. She knows she should get to bed earlier because the children are early risers and are often up for the day from anything between 4-5am. The children share a room, and her son usually wakes first, then rouses his sister to play with him. Lately, with the days getting lighter, it’s been closer to 4am and Kathy is exhausted.

Kathy and Mark decide to try putting the children in separate rooms, and making sure those rooms are as dark as possible. The separation doesn’t go well at all. The children are used to sleeping in the same room and suddenly bedtimes become a struggle as well.So the children’s beds go back in together and Kathy starts looking at how to darken the room.

First of all, Kathy buys blackout lining for the curtains already in the room. There are easy to install, cheap and seemed to make quite a difference to the light coming into the room as far as she could tell. However, some light still comes in from the bottom of the windows and they did nothing to stop the kids’ early wakings.

Next she tries roller blinds. These have to be cut to size and are a little more fiddly to install. They stop light coming from the bottom of the windows, but a bit still sneaks in around the sides. Kathy likes them so much that she relocates them to her and Mark’s bedroom when the kids continue to wake at 4:30 am.

Now Kathy is eyeing up velcro blackout blinds for the children but her husband is baulking at paying for a third solution that might not work. He uses black rubbish bags and a lot of tape to temporarily black out the children’s window and this does appear to help. The children have a couple of nights sleeping until 6 am, but then pull on the taped up bags around the window and made a hole in them. At this point Kathy goes ahead and buys the Velcro blackout blinds.

Now the children sometimes pull the velcro blackout blind down to look outside when they wake in the morning, but it can be easily put back in place. And as they rarely wake before 6 am these days, everyone is much happier.

Posted in Better sleep for toddlers, Children waking in the night, Early Risers


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