Does your toddler have trouble getting to sleep at night, either due to fear of the dark or just restlessness? Have you tried any form of night light, including musical night lights, to remedy the problem? What was the outcome?
Night lights of any type can disrupt sleep patterns
We did a little research on the subject and found out that some types of night lights, including musical night lights, can disrupt your toddler’s natural sleeping rhythm, potentially leading to daytime problems like aggression, impulsivity, poor attention, and poor memory. Additionally, as a consequence of such disrupted patterns, researchers in Canada have revealed that toddlers and preschoolers who get less than 10 hours of sleep nightly are twice as likely to be “overweight, have hyperactivity, and do poorly on cognitive tests later in childhood.”
To underscore the issue further, Certified Sleep Coach Linda Szmulewitz of Sleep Tight Consultants discourages playing music at bedtime, as she believes “music during sleep can prevent your brain from getting into a good sleep pattern overnight.” Instead, Szmulewitz recommends that, “If parents want to play something continuously throughout the night, I suggest white noise, which is a consistent sound that can also help block out household noises.”
Figure out what works best with your child as an individual
While this all makes it sounds like most night lights, especially ones that play music, cause sleep disruption for all toddlers, medical professionals say otherwise. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents go with their gut when it comes to nighttime rituals for their child. Overall, doctors advise parents to pay attention to your individual toddler to see what works best for him. Does he fall asleep to classical music but wake up the minute a colored light turns on? Or is he fine with lights but gets wide-eyed at the sound of Tchaikovsky? Your best bet is to establish what works for each child individually and stick with it to the best of your ability — whether that requires a night light, musical light, white noise, or no light or music at all.
Our favorite musical night lights
With this information in mind, we’ve gone in for the best musical night light options most toddlers would be likely to enjoy, and which would hopefully help them establish good sleep patterns. These are:
Bubzi Co Baby Penguin White Noise Sound Machine
This little guy’s round belly lights up in blue, green, and red stars while simultaneously playing music or white noise for your toddler. What are your little one’s favorite sounds? Take your pick of lullabies, bird songs, white noise, or the sound of a heartbeat — all of which turn off automatically after 30 minutes. Choose between 5 volume levels as well. You can wash the Bubzi Co Baby Penguin White Noise Sound Machine up by hand easily too, as the electrical components are removable. One set of batteries will be included in your package. Get your Bubzi Co Baby Penguin White Noise Sound Machine here for $30.00.
Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother Owl
Perch this friendly owl next to your toddler’s bed to watch over him as he rests, while your choice of features play on until he falls soundly asleep. Choose from 4 lullabies and 4 different nature sounds (the owl’s wings hold his speakers), stars projected onto the ceiling, a glowing light from the owl’s tummy, and a timer feature that sets for either 15, 30, 60, or 90-minute increments that end by automatic shutoff. You can also turn the sound off and use the lights only. Comes with a one-year limited warranty. Get your Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother Owl here for $30.00.
VTech Li’l Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo
LumiPets Sound Soothers Unicorn
This cuddly little creature packs in the features so that any toddler can feel cozy when he’s around. Perfect for all ages from birth to toddler, this guy plays white noise, 10 songs as well as nature sounds, and sends lights up to comfort your little one so they can fall asleep. The projector feature sets the ideal mood for sleep with a gently glowing set of dreamy stars rotating on the ceiling and walls.
You can set your LumiPets Sound Soothers Unicorn to play music throughout the night, or let it shut off automatically after one cycle. The Unicorn’s cry sensors kick in after 5 seconds of your toddler crying, starting a series of soft lullabies to help them soothe back to sleep. Volume, brightness, and timers can be adjusted as you like, and the Unicorn is rechargeable.
Get your LumieWorld Sound Soother Unicorn here for $35.00.
We found these to be the best musical night lights available currently, but as mentioned above, parents are encouraged to monitor their babies and toddlers to find the best bedtime rituals for them as individuals. While one toddler may sleep soundly after two sets of nature sounds and a ceiling full of starry lights, another one may be kept awake by all of the above, and sleep only after a lullaby and no lights projected.
What matters most is that parents are tuned into their toddler’s needs and allow them their own unique sleep ritual to keep their regular sleep patterns intact. This will ensure they get a sufficient number of hours’ sleep, and their day will be as positive as possible. So choose what you think will work best for your baby and go from there – and be sure to let us know how it went!
- How to get your baby to sleep in a crib
- These eight classic lullabies are timeless
- Is it normal for kids to cry for no reason?
- Should babies sleep with a night light?
- How much sleep should a 2-year-old get?