Founder of Little Belle Laura Burbery talks about sleep hygiene and how to encourage children to dream.
Image credit: Mel Palmbeck
A TALE OF THE TOADSTOOL
Laura had a lightbulb moment of how to rest a child with a series of night lamps that help children prepare for sleep without the distress of dealing with the dark.
Laura created Little Belle as her (then) three-year-old daughter was the inspiration behind the design. She loved stories about night time fairies as she drifted off to sleep. As such, she wanted a quality light that she felt safe to leave on during the night.
‘Our lamps are designed as keepsakes from birth through to 7 years of age. Though we do have some older customers too who like to reminisce of their childhood! Aunties and grandparents often gift our lamps for special baptism gifts and milestone birthdays or as an extra special Christmas present.’
Toadstools have always been attributed/ reflective of fairy tales and a make-believe land where elves and pixies live. Why do you think this is so?
‘Growing up in New Zealand I was lucky to be surrounded by beautiful forests and woodland. As a child I would often spend my weekends playing in the forest. I remember looking at mushrooms and would imagine them as the perfect houses for fairies, gnomes, elves and pixies to live. Toadstools are part of the woodland and have such a whimsical feel to them.’
How do you think Little Belle nightlamps help children sleep?
‘By creating a routine where you switch on your child’s lamp each night and talk about the magical folk that may visit their toadstool house during the night.
I spent over a year testing different bulbs. I worked with different manufacturers to create a custom bulb which has just the right glow. The glow is gentle enough to help them drift off into a restful night of sleep. It’s also just bright enough for reassuring them if they wake in the night.’
Fearing the dark is a common occurrence amongst children. How does Little Belle nightlamps help comfort children?
‘Calling upon fairies as children go to sleep at night is a psychologist endorsed method to help them relax into a good night of sleep. Children can talk about their worries as you settle them into bed at night and you can ask a fairy to come and watch over them while they sleep.
For example, my three-year-old son Jonty started having nightmares recently. He was in and out of my bed at night looking for reassurance. He would often run into my room in the middle of the night with his heart rate up saying he had heard a noise or he was scared of monsters. I placed one of our toadstool lamps next to his bed and switched it on as I tucked him in. Then I told him all about the sleep fairy and dreamland. How she flies around at night watching over children as they leap to make sure they have only good dreams. We both even swore we saw a fairy fly through the sky as I was telling him the story! I suggested that we both ask the sleep fairy to watch over him and come to visit his toadstool house during the night.
So we both squeezed our eyes shut and called out to her together. That very same night Jonty stayed in his bed all night and when he came to see me in the morning he told me how he went to dreamland during the night and that he only had good dreams. It’s now been nearly 3 weeks and he has not woken up in the night again (though I am about to go away for a week to a trade event so will likely have some more restless nights when I return!). I used this same method with my daughter Eliza when she was his age.’
Laura has shared with us some simple top tips for bedtime hygiene so that everyone can have a restful slumber.
Create a bedtime routine and develop sleep associations that helps prepare children for bedtime. The bedtime ‘wind-down’ ritual can begin 15-30 minutes before their actual bedtime routine begins. It can involve brushing teeth, bath time and good night kisses.
A Restful Room
Make the room as restful and calm as possible. You can even play some gentle tunes. Searching ‘sleep fairy music’ on youtube comes up with some beautiful songs.
For children who fear the dark, ‘tuck-in time’ provides an opportunity for parent and child to openly discuss what they are excited about dreaming about that night. Reference beautiful magic/ make-believe characters so they can get excited about meeting them when they close their eyes.
Light it up
Switch on your lamp as you tuck your child into bed. Make a magic call out to the fairies to come and give them good dreams and watch over them during the night. Let them know if they wake in the night that their lamp will be there to reassure them.
Comfort the child by telling them that they are close by if they need anything during the night.
To find a nightlight that looks so good and encourages sleep has got to be a win win in our eyes!