THE BLOG

How to Get a Toddler to Sleep in a Heatwave

01/07/2015 15:15 BST | Updated 01/07/2016 10:59 BST

I love summer, of course. Everyone loves summer: spending more time outside is good for us and there is always more to do. Then, during the five or so days a year of 'proper summer' - AKA heatwave territory, things ramp up a gear and we get to feel like we're on a foreign holiday at home - for free - amazing!

It is also important during this period to post lots of natural (forced) and happy (pre-meltdown) photos on Facebook and Instagram, and NEVER complain that it is too hot however uncomfortable you may be... this is sacrilege to the cloudless sky gods.

Anyway, there's nothing to complain about because sunshine puts everyone in a better mood - especially young children. It's all they need to be happy; along with constant entertainment and being kept cool, covered, watered, refreshed and rested. And they make all of this so easy to do, too...

But for the unlucky few of us who may struggle with a rogue tot in the heat and face precarious bed times, fear not. Following this simple guide on getting your kids to sleep during a heatwave will mean you can't go wrong*:

2015-07-01-1435756534-3119358-toddlersheatwave.jpg

*I'm lying - you can - I have.

1.Ensure your child's day is not too exciting so they don't overheat or combust with feralness. A day out running around in the sun will in no way overstimulate them.

2. For optimum results, ensure that you are sunburned due to being too busy fighting sunhat removal and suncream resistance from your kids all day to deal with yourself.

3. Also try hard to have a headache because you couldn't find your sunglasses this morning. This will put you in an extra patient and non-irritated mood come evening.

4. Ruin the set-in-concrete, long abided by routine by staying out later (because you must make the most of the sun you know), ensuring your toddler is extra tired and easy to settle... or wired and a bit rabid.

5. Make sure that your toddler has had more than their usual share of sugar, in forms such as ice cream, lollies and convenience snacks, because you were out and about and it was hot... and there's not a heatwave every day, you know.

6. On your way home from the sun and sugar filled activities you have undertaken, have your child fall asleep in the car - much later than their usual nap time. This will undoubtedly make bed time easier.

7. Once home, try to emanate calm firmness and explain that it is time to quiet down and get ready for bed - yawn loudly to illustrate the point that all humans are now tired and need to wind-down - this will be ignored.

8. Continue regardless, convincing yourself that your toddler is tired - you know they are. Who wouldn't be after an action packed, tantrum-filled fun-filled day in the sunshine? You certainly are.

9. Ignore the little voice in your head reminding you that oh-so-often, tiredness and sleep have naff all to do with each other when it comes to young children.

10. Check the temperature upstairs and decide that your toddler is going to fry like an egg. It is 30 DEGREES! Put the fan on full blast in his room and spend 10 minutes debating if the removal of the black-out blind will make the room cooler... or just lighter... are too hot to decide.

11. Think that if our foreparents managed without all these gadgets, maybe we should too. Are now too hot for lucid thought though so leave everything as it is.

12. Back downstairs, optimistically place wine in the fridge so you can enjoy some time in the garden once the toddler is asleep, spending some quality time with your partner - or by yourself - whatever... so long as there is wine.

13. Attempt to get your toddler upstairs. Five times.

14. Ignoring their admittedly amusing bum-bum dance, remind them they will enjoy tomorrow much more if they are not over-tired; then, when that doesn't work and you are near the end of your rope, carry them up yourself.

15. Spend 10 minutes consoling your toddler over the temporary removal of control in regards to stair scrambling.

16. Attempt the usual bed time bumph even though your toddler knows that you know that he is not going down without a fight.

17. After the novelty of the fan fails to wear off, with your toddler firmly holding the belief that it is a new, magical, hair-blowing toy; you turn it off.

18. Immediately feel hotter and become very fearful of what lies ahead.

19. Twenty minutes on and he is not going down. Try to keep the desperation out of your voice as you begin to plead. Fail.

20. The heat is a killer, but much more so for you than your toddler with the 30+ years you have on him and your tendency towards hot sweats.

21. Decide for both your sakes it is time to exit the furnace. Perhaps you are a distraction and he will nod off happily once alone. Say a tender goodnight and creep away.

22. Make it as far as the first step before your toddler starts howling your name. Feel terrible and guilty and irritated and thirsty. And HOT. Feel very hot.

23. Cuddle your toddler and settle him back down. It won't be long now... surely.

24. Lie on the hard floor pretending to sleep. This won't bother your sunburnt back at all, which is also aching like a mother thanks to lugging around a bag larger than life to hold all the rubbish your toddler "needs" to stay happy in the sun.

25. Listen to your toddler sing 'Hello' - not even goodnight - to everyone he knows: friends, neighbours, countrymen (or family). Then hear him move on to donkeys, peacocks and kitchen utensils. Any attempts you make to 'Shhhh' are met with loud and exaggerated imitations of your supposedly calming whispers, together with adorable and infuriating giggles.

26. Do actually fall asleep on the floor, your arm wedged into the cot and suspended mid-air thanks to his insistence that your (hot) hand is placed on his (hot) leg. Are woken by his farm impressions and your sunburn brushing against the carpet. You think fleetingly and mournfully of the bottle of unopened chilled wine.

27. Your toddler eventually calms down; the farm noises cease, his breathing slows, and after a few minutes - or maybe hours - you are too broken to actually know - he sleeps.

28. Remove your numb and sweaty hand from the cot which wakes him up. Repeat steps 26 and 27. Twice.

29. Finally escape downstairs and find your partner asleep on the sofa. Reject wine in favour of a pint of water and two paracetamol, and lie in front of an open door. Well, you made it - and at least your toddler is asleep in his own cot, as there would seriously be nothing worse than co-sleeping in this heat - little victories.

30. Toddler wakes at midnight... and 1 AM... you co-sleep. Or rather, you do the 'co' - your toddler does the 'sleep'...

For more honesty and humour in the parenting department, visit Big Trouble in Little Nappies or follow via Facebook.