Friday, November 25, 2011

Survival Gear: Sleepy Time

Survival Gear is our attempt to arm you with the tools you need to survive your daily dad life. We are always on the lookout for anything that can make the job easier and we are excited to share them with you. Today we are going to look at a couple of items that are geared (see what we did there) towards making the nightly struggle to get the little one to go to bed a little easier (think about that, I would love for somebody to force me to go to bed). Here are a couple of things worth checking out.

Sound Machine
Whether you live in a busy city or in the middle of the woods, you could always use a little bit soothing noise when you go to sleep. Studies have shown that sleeping with a certain amount of white noise helps people achieve better-quality sleep. Remember that your little one was actually inside your wife for 9 months listening to her heartbeat and the whooshing noises of her body. A little extra "white noise" might help calm them will at least mask the noise of the tv from the other room.  I have found that this one works well:
Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002

If you are like me, I like to make sure everything is going ok when the little one is alone in the other room. I am actually that dad that put the mirror up to my first kid's mouth while he was sleeping to check that everything was ok. Of course, I ended up waking him and spent the next three hours trying to get him back down. There are hundreds of cool monitors that can help you and your inner obsessive personality survive the night. Trust me, it beats the mirror. Check this one out: 

You are going to need a good lamp. It is a nice way to segway from the room light to total darkness. It sends the message, "Hey we are heading toward sleep time...get on board". It also creates a routine that allows your little one to participate in the process. I highly recommend that you get a "kid-friendly" lamp— one that your child will actually want to turn on, and one that is easy for their little hands to use. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Darth Vader Lamp


Once the lights go out, the kids are on their own...just kidding. I actually transition from the lamp to the flashlight. We will lay in bed and tell stories with shadow puppets for about 10 minutes. My little guy loves to tell the same story over and over... and over, but at least it keeps him contained. He also loves having the control of the flashlight. After 10 minutes is up, he ends our story with the flashlight somehow going out as part of the story (the dragon ate the sun, the moon went down, the boy closed his will come up with your own). I think this helps to subconsciously let him think that he is the one deciding to go to sleep. If you haven't seen them, there are a lot of really cool flashlights out there for kids now. Here is my favorite:
LEGO Hand Crank Dynamo Flash Light Torch Giant Lego Man

Did you really think that they were going to actually go down. Silly you. No, there are at least three more requests for random things ranging from checking out those monster noises in the closet to a final drink of water. I can't help with the monster noises (although you could "discover" an invisible monster in the closet and wrestle him for a couple of minutes and finally throw him out the window...but you might also scare your little one for life), but the water thing can be taken care of pretty easily. I saw this LiteCup online yesterday and thought that this might be a great solution for both the monster noises (nightlight) and the water requests. This looks really great. 


What goes in, is going to come out. What were you thinking giving them all that water before they went to sleep? Oh that's right, you would have given them anything to get them to finally go down. Well, now that they have a bladder full of H2O hush money, then you are destined to be washing some sheets in the morning. The important thing is to make sure that the eventual flood avoids the mattress.  Sheets can be washed, mattresses cannot. To avoid your house smelling like an old-folks' home, I would highly recommend investing in a couple of mattress pads. The good thing is that this is really a long term investment because you are probably going to need them in a few years anyway. Here are the ones that we use:
Invacare Extra Reusable Bedpads

Did I miss anything? Do you have a sleep time survival gear recommendation? Let us know. Good luck. 

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