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A fashionable solution to our sleeping sitch

I know I talk about the girls’ sleeping problems a lot lately, and I acknowledge that most of the issue was us trying to force the tikes into taking one nap instead of two…

Can we talk about that?

Do you remember how Daylight Savings time happened, oh… I don’t know… almost THREE MONTHS AGO?

You guessed it: The girls never adjusted to the time change.

All this time, I was thinking their nighttime non-sleeping tom-foolery was CAUSED by too much sleep during the day. But I now me-thinks it’s the opposite. Their excessive sleeping during the day is a result of a lack of sleep at night. They used to go to sleep around 6pm, and it’s been slowly creeping back as the sun sets later and later.

Now I’ve been toying around with purchasing some blackout curtains, and I’ve done TONS of research and read TONS of reviews (which is such a waste of time… because people either love things or they hate things. This causes me to experience an inner struggle, and I end up not purchasing anything… weeping quietly in my closet).

PLUS, a small part of me will feel sad to ditch one of my fave design elements in the nursery… the whole room was designed around these curtains!


Additionally, I wasn’t completely convinced that darkness would really make a difference. And we didn’t want to spend a ton of money finding out. Especially when I would much rather buy curtains for this room.

Well last night, Nick and I decided to do a little controlled experiment.

I said, ‘Babe? I bet you can’t make the nursery black as night.’

(Men, they need a challenge… choose your words carefully)

Ten minutes later, he presents this to me (with a proud grin on his facial region).


I couldn’t be more proud.  Isn’t he a resourceful little scoundrel? Fleece blankets and bath towels? CHECK. Push pins straight through my hand-sewn Turquoise Damask Curtains? CHECK.

Here it is with the light off (in full daylight).


Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be nice? This is pretty darn close.


Since the girls had missed one of their naps due to Memorial Day festivities, we knew they were super tired and this night would be the perfect eve for said controlled experimentation.

The girls were CLEARLY tired at supper time, and so afterwards… we got PJ’s on, brushed teeth, and headed up to the CAVE to read their bedtime story (so the darkness could sink in and make them and have sufficient time to trick their sleeping mojo into gear.

Then we put them to bed, walked out the door, and gave each other a high-five.

THEN we painted the studio, built a frame, sanded Texas and Indiana, gave some finishing touches to the bathroom backsplash, and watched The Fast and the Furious… not hearing a single peep from the girls.

They DROPPED under the cover of darkness.

Pais and Della

Mission: complete.

P.S. After Nick assaulted the nursery with blankets, towels and pushpins, he announced that (and I quote) ‘If this works, I’m totally going to sew some black-out roman blinds to go behind your gorgeous damask curtains’.

Get excited for that! I am.Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}

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  • Anonymous

    Target sells kid black out curtains for $15 a panel. Definetly worth the money! BrandyMN

  • ashlie

    I just hung a dark sheet up in my kid’s window behind her usual curtains – there was already one of those little bungee cord type things to hang a sheer up, so I just threw a sheet over it instead. Works like a charm! And I can just slide it over and still have the curtains there when I want light in her room during the day!

  • Robyn Swensen

    Love the tip for challenging your hubby! Too funny. I bet you could easily add blackout liner to your curtains. Jo-ann’s sells a pretty cheap version in the home dec section.

  • John and Katie

    Buy RocLon Black Out Drapery Lining, cut to the same size as your curtains(it doesn’t fray) and you can clip it right behind your curtains with the clips you already have up. Quick and easy. I did this for my sons room and it works like a charm! A little light seeps around the edges but not much. Good luck!

  • m @ random musings

    Glad I’m not the first to suggest just clipping black out material behind the existing curtains. joann’s usually sells it for $6/yd

  • Devon K

    Bethany, I lined my curtains with ivory blackout material. Works like a charm :)

  • Artgirl

    I am with you on the blackout shades…have them, and they go up out of sight during the day then down at night…no need to change curtains..voila!

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t mess with the look of your curtains with the light coming through them!! I have a shift worker (work 7 days and then 7 nights -so he has to sleep during the day)The blackout shades are what you need and they are super cheap at Walmart and very easy to install. And I still get my super cute curtains when he’s working days! The hardware is hanging right there next to it no searching through the hardware store for the right stuff!! If you can’t find the right size and have to go to the hardware store they will cut them to the right size for you!! And if you want that extra pop of color…if you wanted too… take a piece of material lay it down roll out your darkening shade color to roll out into the room and hot glue about an inch over onto the side that will face the window!! My windows sit back with a 2foot lip that I have a lamp and old typewritter in. With the curtains open I have a pop of color peeking through.

  • Beth Fuller

    So glad it worked! If it stops working, have you given consideration to the fact that maybe they’re too big for their crib? I wonder if they’re bumping each other and/or bumping the sides and it’s preventing them from staying in a deep sleep and making their sleep fitful, thus causing them to need more daytime sleep. Just a thought. Fingers crossed it keeps working!! I’m a totally fan of dark rooms and have been making our kids rooms dark for forever. Sixteen years to be exact. Gosh that makes me sound old…..

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree with you. It looks like the girls are too big to sleep together in the little crib. It would be like two tall people trying to sleep in a full size bed instead of a king size. These girls could sleep in a twin bed together with a mesh bed rail to keep them from falling off the bed. I also think it is pointless to keep toddlers in a crib after they can climb in/out themselves. It is very dangerous for them to “fall” out of the crib when they are trying to get out.

  • Katie Olthoff

    yes, the dark is KEY for my 2 year old, too! And add “covering windows with makeshift black-out-curtains” to the “you know you’re a parent when…” list. :)

  • Beth D.

    glad it worked for you. we have always used darkening shades for our kiddos. when my oldest was 1.5 i took her for a trip to a friends. It was light until almost 11 at night (northern BC). she didn’t go to sleep until it got dark! the next night i pinned blankets to the window frame and that helped thank goodness!

  • Kathy’s Fistfull of Daisies

    Congratulations!!!! It is such a great feeling when you finally get the results you’ve been craving! :) Whoever came up with the time change, couldn’t have been in charge of children’s bedtimes. They should leave things well enough alone. It seemed as just when we would finally get the kids used to the change, it would change back. Ugh! Your blackout curtains should certainly help. :)


    I use black garbage bags taped to the window behind the curtains. It creates a serious blackout effect – like absolutely NO light which is what my son responds well to. I now bring trash bags with me where ever we travel. So not fashionable but very effective!

  • Marissa Luke

    My whole family has issues sleeping with light so we found these awesome blackout paper blinds at Wal-mart that can be cut down to fit inside the window frame and behind our curtains and regular blinds. I couldn’t find them on line at Wal-mart but Amazon has them!

  • Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

    Thanks for all the suggestions on keeping the room dark! Some VERY good ideas that we’re looking into!

    For those that feel strongly about separating them… we’ve tried. And while they fell asleep faster, they didn’t sleep well throughout the night. They’re used to snuggling with each other. I know I don’t sleep as well when Nick isn’t in the bed with me! Obviously, eventually they’ll be in their own beds. They aren’t climbing out of the crib yet, so we’re finding solutions to the daylight situation instead of the crib situation.

    • Beth Fuller

      I love that they share a bed. I wasn’t suggesting separating them, just giving them more space. :)

      We just overhauled a double bed and moved our three year old and 20 month old girls into it from their twin bed and crib. It’s working wonderfully. I think they’re both enjoying sharing a bed.

      No matter what, do whatever works! Sleep is heaven!!!

  • Jenn

    I did the blackout curtins in my sons room… didn’t matter light still seeped through… I’m going the fleece route now! Thanks for the idea!!!

  • Laura in IA

    I used the shades artgirl and Marissa mention. So inexpensive and you do not have to change your window treatment that you have fallen in love with. If you inside mount them, which I think your older style windows may allow, you don’t even have to worry about cracks of light on the sides. Since we live in town I have my own curtains lined with black out lining mentioned above. I sleep so much sounder.

  • Klumzi Mom Designs

    Holy Moly! I need to try this!! My beautiful babes (b/g twins) sleep in separate cribs and still have playtime at night from across the room!

  • Suzanne Martin

    A quick & inexpensive & decorative solution is cheap roll up vinyl blinds covered with fabric using Modge-Podge. Makes for great dark out shades in a pinch.
    PS: My kids all had issues with DST so I had to start changing their bedtime about 2 weeks ahead of time so their circadian cycle could adjust. And of course, the black-out blinds helped lots.

  • Mindy Schaper

    Lol. Funny post. I know how you feel about working out kids’ naptimes… Happens all the time. And you are so right about the reviews. I feel the same way when I read them.

  • Deborah Jimenez, aka “Doula Deb”

    Great post! Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! The fact is light has a big role in our awake and sleep cycles so you did the right thing! If your babies are still struggling with sleep, I’d love to chat and see if there’s anything I can do to help! Hope everything evens out soon! :)

  • Emily

    We put blackout roller shades behind our curtains.