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Halloween Sleep Tips

halloween sleep tips

The Halloween sleep tips below will help you prepare your kids and yourself to have a lot of fun, but also preserve sleep this Halloween.

Halloween is such a fun holiday! Costumes, candy and staying up late is kid paradise! As parents, we often have mixed emotions about Halloween. We want our kiddos to enjoy and have fun, but it can also cause us to feel a little anxious about the potential fall-out from our kiddos not getting enough sleep and having too much sugar.

This year, we have the added layer of worry about the pandemic. We don’t want to deprive our children of this fun experience, yet we want to keep them and our loved ones safe. We can’t change the pandemic, but we can make a plan for a fun and healthy holiday with these Halloween sleep tips:

Sleep Tip #1: Start Rested

  • Ensure that your children have adequate rest leading up to the night of trick or treat.  Ensure either a good, restorative nap or quiet time before heading out for the night’s festivities
  • The week leading up to the holiday, ensure you are sticking pretty close to your little one’s schedule so they are meeting their sleep needs
  • Children who are better rested navigate disruptions to their schedule much easier and get back on track quicker, which will help a sleep debt from building

Sleep Tip #2: Plan Ahead

Communication is everything and cuts down on confusion and tension. Talk with your spouse or partner to come up with a game plan:

  1. What time your children will start trick or treating
  2. How far you’ll be going
  3. What time you’ll be going home
  4. How the bedtime routine will be altered for the night

If you are on the same page, it will be easier to discuss the plan, in an age appropriate way, with your children so they can know what to expect.

  • Give your children plenty of notice of when the fun is coming to an end.  “We are visiting 4 more houses and then we are heading home to check out our candy and get ready for bed!”
  • Try to set limits around candy intake. This one can be hard – especially with older children.

Sleep Tip #3: Start trick-or-treat early

  • If trick-or-treat starts at 6:00 pm, plan on going out right then, especially if you have little ones
  • Your child will have plenty of fun, but can keep a reasonable bedtime and a short routine
  • Starting early ensures that you can relax and enjoy, without feeling super rushed
  • A bedtime swing of 30 minutes for toddlers and preschoolers won’t significantly affect them.  But keep in mind that you really don’t want to extend much beyond that time frame

Sleep Tip #4: Setup for bedtime in advance

  • If your little one normally has a bedtime snack, I recommend offering a protein and complex carbohydrate rich snack before bed. This helps with the sugar crash if they have something of substance in their tummies at bedtime
  • Shorten your bedtime routine some, but ensure that it still gives opportunity for calming and connecting:
    • Skip the bath for a sponge bath
    • Brush teeth REALLY good!
    • Have pajamas set out and prepare the bedroom before you go out for the night
    • Instead of two books, shorten it to one
halloween sleep tips

Sleep Tip #5: Expect some curtain calls

  • Even super star sleepers may call out and try to delay bedtime to prolong the fun. Sugar gives them fuel for this!
  • Stay consistent with your bedtime routine and stay lovingly firm with your expectations
  • If they know the limits and you stick with them, the stalling tactics should stay to a minimum and won’t push bedtime even later

Sleep Tip #6: Comfort bad dreams

  • If your child wakes from a bad dream or scared by something that they saw on Halloween, comfort them because the fear is real for them
  • Stay calm and don’t make a big deal out of it so your little one doesn’t try to keep using this attention technique in the future
  • In the morning, if your child wants to talk about their dream, reassure them that monsters aren’t real and that everything on Halloween is make believe.  Keep reinforcing that message if they continually bring it up

Sleep Tip #7: Monitor candy consumption

  • Once you’ve finished pilfering their stash, try to ensure your little one isn’t have candy before bed every night after Halloween
  • This can push your child’s time to fall asleep later due to the sugar rush and the caffeine in chocolate
  • When blood sugar drops, our bodies naturally produce stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), which can wreak havoc on sleep
  • Offer treats after school / daycare / later afternoon so your little one’s body has a chance to stabilize their blood sugar before bedtime
  • Consider donating leftover candy to overseas Veterans with a program like Operation Gratitude

We hope these Halloween sleep tips help you and your little one to have a sweet Halloween and still get the sleep you need!

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