Reclaiming the lie-in
You know for most parents, the prospect of a lie-in in the morning fades as soon as your little one is welcomed into the world.
It also seems as though early morning starts are on the agenda for at least the first 13 years, but what if you could find a way of getting a few more moments of peace in the morning?
Whether you want some extra minutes of rest on a weekday morning or you’re looking to reclaim your lie-ins at the weekend, we are here to help. We’ve raided the minds of some parents and experts to come up with a host of tried and tested techniques for keeping your little ones happy – and quiet – in the mornings. Take a few tips from us, and your relaxed mornings might not be just a thing of the past.
1. It’s all in the game
Many of us like to use games to keep our little ones entertained during the day, but we can also tailor these to our advantage when we want some quiet time in the morning.
If you find yourself with a little visitor when it’s painfully early, suggest a quiet game to keep them entertained whilst you enjoy some further rest time.
The Sleeping Lions game is a great way of appealing to your child’s competitive side. The object of the game is to pretend to be a sleeping lion, and the first one to make a sound is the looser. It has kept many a little one silent, and you never know, you might just get some more sleep out of it.
If your little one is wide-eyed and not a fan of keeping silent, there are plenty of other games they play at the end of the bed. Shadow puppets is a fun game to play under the covers with a torch. Failing that, a stack of colouring books will come in handy for little ones that love to scribble while puzzle books are a great way of keeping older children entertained.
2. What’s in the toy box?
It’s no secret that children love toys, so why not make the most of their favourite playthings by keeping some of them on standby in your bedroom?
Keep a storage box filled with their most entertaining toys, which they can play with at the end of the bed whilst you’re resting. You can tuck the box under the bed if you want to ensure your bedroom still looks like an adult’s room. Little toys such as trains, cars, figurines and puzzles are perfect for this and they will capture a child’s imagination instantly.
A big bed definitely helps in this situation, as you can enjoy lazing in your usual spot whilst your child plays at the end of the mattress undisturbed. Try a big mattress such as the Hypnos Ortho Gold if you want plenty of space to keep the whole family happy.
Ensure your child doesn’t get bored with the toys on offer by changing the selection every few weeks. Hide some new toys for them to discover in the container, or include some old favourites they’ve forgotten about and they’ll find endless morning entertainment all in one little box.
Stories don’t have to be reserved for bedtime, they can work wonders in capturing a child’s imagination in the mornings too.
Keep some picture books under your bed for younger children to flick through on their own, or have a storybook ready for older children that are happy to sit and read quietly by themselves.
To make their reading time more interesting, reserve a longer story book for the mornings, and split it into sections or chapters so they can look forward to progressing through the story every time they come to read it in your bedroom.
If books aren’t keeping your little ones happy, try encouraging them to make up their own stories. Give them a new prompt every morning and ask them to make up their own adventure. Encourage them to finish their tale before you get up, and make the time to listen to their finished stories over breakfast.
4. Play pretend
Whether it’s doctors and nurses, shops or cops and robbers, children love to role play. Encourage them to play certain pretend games that are suited to your bedroom and you might just manage a few moments of peace in the morning.
A dressing table in the bedroom is the perfect setting for little ones that want to play hairdressers – just ensure you keep any valuables or dangerous items out of reach. If you’ve got bookcases in the bedroom you can encourage your little ones to play the librarian, or you can even let them set up shop next to the bed if they want to pretend to be a shopkeeper.
The bed itself is the ideal setting for playing families, which is a pretend game favoured by many children. Most little ones love to take the role of the parent whilst playing, so indulge them, pretend that Mummy and Daddy are the babies and have them put you to sleep for some quiet time.
5. Electronic entertainment
Although we often hear that we should limit the amount of time our children spend in front of the TV or playing with the computer, we can’t get away from the fact that electronic entertainment is very good at keeping little ones quiet.
Many of us are certainly guilty of loading up our phones with Peppa Pig and thrusting them into little hands to watch in the mornings, and there is certainly no harm in letting them indulge in some light entertainment.
An iPad or tablet loaded with child-friendly apps can be a great way of keeping them entertained, and many applications boast educational elements too. Just be sure you’ve taken the necessary precautions to make your device child-friendly. Many tablets have access to parental controls in the settings menu. These will include features such as restricting the internet access and ensuring purchases cannot be made without entering a password. You can even opt to disable certain apps you don’t want your children to use.
One great addition to a parent’s bedroom is a TV bed. With one quick flick of a button, your bed can be transformed into an entertainment hub, with a TV rising from the bedstead. Keep your child’s favourite programmes on a DVD in your bedroom, or if you’ve got a smart TV, load some onto the hard drive so you can easily access them.
If you’d rather rest without the sounds of the children’s channel, invest in a pair of children’s headphones. Choose an on-ear pair that have the option of limiting the volume to ensure your little one’s ears are safe.
Although we are often well aware that early mornings come with the territory when it comes to starting a family, sometimes a little extra sleep can go a long way. Next time your child wanders into your bedroom or starts calling for you long before the sun has risen, keep our tips handy, and you could be saying hello to restful mornings once again.