Getting the children to sleep during the summer months is a complete nightmare. Cries of 'But it's still light outside!' can be heard up and down the country at maximum volume on repeat until the sun finally disappears from behind the curtains.
So what can we do to help create a cosy, dark environment for our kids to fall asleep on long, bright summer nights? One word: Blackout.
Firstly if you have thin curtains which allow lots of light to come trough you need to line them with blackout fabric. No need to sew, just safety pin it onto the back. This will block a lot of light but unless your curtains sit flush to the window and extend well past the frames a lot of light will still come in due to 'light creep' (Husband's technical term for light creeping around the curtains).
To get maximum blackout potential you also need to install a blackout roller blind behind the curtain. We are talking double blackout here! Made to measure rollerblinds are available in lots of different colours at exceptionally reasonable prices.
As you can see from the before and after pictures above the blind makes a huge difference.
If you are dealing with a loft room and need to shade tricky roof windows it really pays to buy a decent blind (I spent 2yrs cursing Husband's ill fitting roof blind flooding the room with sun at the crack of dawn so you can trust me on this!). You can buy perfect fit blinds from the VELUX brand. The Itzala range of roof blinds are available in blackout and if you want to theme them to match your child's bedroom go for the Disney range which features 12 different designs including Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Disney Princesses to name just a few. If you want to go high tech you can choose remote control blinds! Very cool.
It helps to keep other upstairs rooms as dark as possible to stop further 'light creep' around the bedroom doorframe. We didn't fancy a rollerblind on our landing so instead went for wide slat wooden blinds which are made to measure so fit perfectly and have tapes along the cord joints to block even more light. They look really attractive and expensive when actually they are super cheap!
You can even create small blackout spaces for daytime naps with the Snoozeshade. This pram blackout cover is great for instantly creating a dark environment over car seats and prams so babies and children can fall asleep easily when out and about. The breathable fabric means it is perfect for the summer months and much safer than chucking a blanket over the pram which can cause overheating. A little zip on the front allows you to keep an eye on them without disturbing them.
If you are going away or staying with friends and family chances are they won't have blackout blinds fitted. But luckily there is a travel blackout blind available. Hurrah! The Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind uses suction cups to stick to any window up to a maximum size of 130cm x 198cm. It folds up nice and small so you can take a cosy, dark room with you anywhere, even abroad on holiday.
And if all else fails I have been informed that tin foil (shiny side facing outwards) completely covering the window does the job. Probably not a permanent solution unless your child wants to live in a room resembling a science lab, but will help you out as a quick fix until the blackout blind you've ordered arrives.
Remember when installing blinds in any room to make sure all cords feature easy break chain connectors and are secured to the wall with cleats to avoid accident and injury.
This is a collaborative post