Nightlights can be a useful tool for both young children and parents alike. Certainly they make it easier for parents to navigate a dark room when feeding or changing a young baby. They also help older children get to the bathroom safely in the middle of the night when necessary. Parents of preschoolers may add a nightlight to help their little one cope with nighttime fears. Nightlights serve an undeniable purpose but if you are not careful they could do more harm to your child’s sleep than good. Here are some tips to help you avoid any trouble:
*Be sure your nightlight is very dim and preferably below eye level and behind a piece of furniture (or better yet in the hallway) so the light is only indirect. Too much light can disrupt important hormone production and interfere with your child’s circadian rhythms.
*Pay attention to the color of your nightlight, while many companies make nightlights that are blue or white studies show these lights are most problematic.
*Do not use a nightlight that projects images, has lights that move, plays music or has other “fun” features as these will only stimulate your child more- not the goal at bedtime.
*Do a night time check- lay in your child’s bed or get down to crib level at night and notice what light your child might be getting from other sources – i.e., outside lights, ambient household lights (for example from the bathroom, hall or closet light left on), an alarm clock etc. and work to decreases this light by putting up room darkening shades, turning off troublesome household lights, switching to a non-digital alarm clock.
*If your child is fearful of the dark, shadows, monsters or is experiencing other nighttime fears read my tips on dealing with their anxiety at http://claytonbabies.com/mommy-there-is-a-monster-under-my-bed-tips-on-dealing-with-your-toddlers-nighttime-fears/
*Remember the best environment for healthy sleep is cool and dark.