March 20, 2024

The Best Blackout Curtains for Your Child’s Nursery

Babies, Newborns, Older Children, Toddlers

Do you know how dark is dark enough for your child’s bedroom?

When it comes to your little one’s sleep environment, the ideal level of darkness is, “I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”

I know that sounds impossible, and with lots of “blackout curtains” out there, it is impossible! And now that spring is here and the sun is setting later and rising earlier, this is extra important!

One of my biggest pet peeves as a sleep consultant is that there are SO MANY products marketed as blackout curtains for your little one’s room that just don’t do the job.

The good news is, however, that there ARE some actual blackout solutions, and I want to share them with you! In this post, I will share:

  • Why darkness is so important for baby and toddler sleep
  • If using blackout curtains will make your little one rely on total darkness
  • When you can stop using blackout curtains with your child
  • What to do if your toddler is afraid of the dark – should you still use blackout curtains?
  • The best blackout curtains and our other favorite blackout solutions

First of all, why is a totally dark room so important for sleep?

It’s because of how we’re wired! Our circadian rhythm, or body clock, is what helps us feel awake during the day and sleepy at night. And light and darkness play a big role in regulating our circadian rhythm! This is true for kids and adults, alike.

Did you know that when we sleep, our brains can still detect light??

So if there is any sunlight that starts creeping into your child’s room as the sun starts to rise, it could cause them to wake up really early, and no one is a fan of early morning wakings.

Too much light in the room can also cause short naps! Your little one might stir between sleep cycles, and rather than going right back to sleep, they see the light, and boom, time to wake up! Why would they want to go back to sleep??

Similarly, think about falling asleep. If your little one is falling asleep at nap or bedtime and they’re able to look around the nursery, see their favorite books, or toys, or the chair where mom and dad were rocking them, they could be all the more distracted or just upset and take much longer to fall asleep than ideal.

If they are toddlers or older kids, they might even protest bedtime all the more because “it’s still light outside!”

But if their room is completely dark, there’s really nothing else to do but fall asleep.

Common Questions About Blackout Curtains

“Do we have to black out our baby’s room? The light doesn’t seem to bother them.”

Here are my thoughts. Do you have to black out your little one’s nursery? No, you don’t have to do anything!!

Do some kids seem to be less sensitive to that light and not need it totally dark? Sure.

So can you start by not totally blacking out your child’s room? Sure!

But if we get a week or so into sleep training and something is still just not working – maybe naps have still all been short and they’re waking up before 6 every morning but still seem so tired – we’re going to come back to the darkness of the room. And what a bummer to know such an “easy fix” has been keeping sleep more challenging??

So I’d rather set up the most ideal sleeping environment from the start to ensure the best possible sleep.

“Will blacking out my child’s room make them a sleep snob?”

I get this question all. the. time.

And I get it! Parents are concerned that if their baby gets used to sleeping in a nursery that is pitch black they won’t be able to sleep anywhere else.

In one sense, you are creating total darkness to be a sleep prop, but it’s a good prop! Sleeping in a pitch black room helps all of us, adults and kids alike, sleep more soundly.

And yes, if your little one is used to a totally dark space and at some point they need to sleep in a brighter space, will it be harder for them? Probably.

But you’re not just making them a “boujee” sleeper, you’re giving them the best sleep possible!

I’ve known people to hang Christmas lights in their little one’s room so that they don’t get used to it being dark. And again, if that works for them and their child sleeps well, awesome! But what if that means their child always gets sub-par sleep? Not worth it to me!

Sleeping in a pitch-black room helps all of us, adults and kids alike, sleep more soundly.

We’ll get to our favorite blackout products, but let’s say for whatever reason you just can’t blackout their room when you’re traveling. Well, that’s how many days of the 365-day year that they aren’t sleeping as well?

I’d much rather know that for 49 weeks of the year, my child’s sleep is GREAT! If that means the other three weeks are subpar due to other trips, fine! That’s real life. But I do care then when we’re at home, they’re getting the best sleep possible.

“But they’re in daycare five days a week and daycare isn’t dark. If their room is dark at home won’t that make daycare sleep harder?”

Hear me when I say daycare is just different! Some kiddos sleep better at daycare than at home, while others sleep better at home.

There are 15-month-olds sleeping on little floor mats at daycare and I would never recommend doing the same at home! Some toddlers don’t need a pacifier to sleep at daycare but rely on it at home.

Daycare is just different! So when you’re able to control your little one’s sleeping environment, keep. it. dark!!

“When can I stop using blackout curtains in my child’s room?”

There’s not really a straightforward answer here.

For some kids (and adults!), they will just sleep better in a totally dark room and that doesn’t really change. They go to college with a sleeping eye mask and sound machine.

But I’ve also seen some kids who just don’t seem to be affected as much by the light as they get older.

Maybe you go on vacation, or your child sleeps over at Grandma’s house, and the room wasn’t totally dark, and they slept just as well! In that case, I would still aim to keep their room at home nice and dark, because you can, but you don’t have to worry about it as much when you travel!

I also think part of that is not necessarily that they’re not as sensitive to the light as it is they just know how to sleep, and they have more self-control to not jump out of bed and play with all of the toys in the corner – they know to close their eyes and try to keep them closed even if they’re not asleep yet.

All that to say…will your child be less sensitive to the dark as they get older? Maybe! But it’s also okay if they still sleep better in that dark space because you can absolutely give it to them.

“What if my child is afraid of the dark?”

If your child has started communicating a fear of the dark, we certainly want to support them.

This might come up around the age of 2-3, as their imagination starts running wild. We’ll talk about this more on a later podcast, but if they’re afraid of the dark, put a nightlight in there!

Use a red or orange night light, however, as white or blue light can actually inhibit our sleep! The Hatch Rest is a great option for a night light because you can use it as a wake-up clock, too.

The point here is, don’t simply not cover up the windows if your little one is afraid of the dark. That sunshine streaming through the windows will signal to their body it’s time to wake up, and it’s probably going to be earlier than is ideal. The goal is that their room is still blocked from that natural light, it’s just a dim red light so your child doesn’t have to be afraid.

Now that you know my thoughts on blacking out your little one’s room, let’s talk practicals. I want to share my favorite blackout options. Note that I’m not saying “curtains,” because they aren’t curtains.

The Three Best Blackout “Curtains”

Hint: they’re not actually blackout curtains

The Best Blackout “Curtains” for Home: Blackout EZ Window Covers

blackout ez solution

We’ve used Blackout EZ Window Covers in our last two homes and they’re the best!

The problem with most blackout curtains, shades, or blinds is that light still seeps in through the sides, and potentially the top and bottom, as well.

Blackout EZ Covers are almost like a big panel of canvas that velcros directly to your window frame so light doesn’t come through. Because they attach directly to the frame, you can still hang fun curtains over them, or even keep your current blinds up.

Another great perk of these blackout covers is that you can cut them to fit windows of any shape, so no matter what shape or size the windows are, you can cover them – simply cut the covers to size and install them.

In our last apartment, our girls’ bedroom had one BIG window, so I actually ordered a custom size and it was just what we needed! I was then able to cut that panel down to fit the window in my big girls’ room in our current home and still had enough to cover one window in my baby’s room. So then we just had to buy one more panel for her other window and we were golden! They were very easy to reuse.

And our girls’ rooms are totally blacked out, Blackout EZ is just the best! And you can get 10% off when you use the code “blackout10” and this link.

Now, you can certainly take these covers down, if you want to let in the natural light – you’d just have to peel the panel off and then reattach it to the Velcro when it’s bedtime. I’ll be honest, that would feel like a pain, as you’d want everything to measure up, and in our case, it’s under our blinds so it would take time to get it under and reattach them each day. And our girls don’t spend a lot of time in their room during the day, so we just keep them up all the time.  

I have a friend and former client, however, who really wants that natural light to come through every day. So she rigged her Blackout EZ Covers to where she can partially roll them and then she attached a small piece of Velcro to hold up the roll.

So she just has to roll it back down at night and it’s already in place since she didn’t have to pull it all down – and I think it’s genius! So Blackout EZ is by far my favorite blackout product for kids’ rooms!

The Best Blackout Solution for Home or Travel: SlumberPod

If you’ve not heard of the SlumberPod, you’re in for a treat! The SlumberPod is not a tent, as it doesn’t have a bottom, but it looks like a tent. You simply slip it over a pack ‘n play, mini crib, or toddler cot, and you instantly have a totally dark environment.


So no matter where you’re little one is sleeping – a hotel room, grandma’s house, or your home office – their space is totally dark. You don’t have to worry about covering up the windows, and it takes just five minutes to set up!

Not only does it make it easy to keep your little one’s sleeping environment completely dark, but it gives them their own space! So if you’re all sharing a hotel room, you can zip your little one in their pod and still have lights on, watch a movie, or walk around, and they won’t be distracted.

Some families also use their SlumberPod for when siblings room share! Maybe the baby goes to bed first but they share a room with a toddler who goes to bed later and also uses a night light – the SlumberPod can help both kiddos have the environment they need!

Or if your baby is still sleeping in your room, whether that’s just your preference or due to space, the SlumberPod makes it so doable!

We had our younger two daughters in our bedroom until they were around 11 months old, and the SlumberPod was the perfect tool to make us feel comfortable having them in our room for so long but also like we could still enjoy our room, too! We could still read in bed, come in and out to grab a new shirt, or take a shower, and not worry about waking them up from the light coming in or seeing us walk by.

And we’ve used the SlumberPod with all of our girls! I know we’ve definitely had two set up at a time, and I want to say there were one or two instances when we even had three set up. It can fit over pack ‘n plays, mini-cribs, and even many toddler cots, so our girls have slept in the SlumberPod as babies and toddlers!

Get a discount on your SlumberPod by using the code “GRACES$20” at checkout!

Gro-Anywhere Blinds

The Gro-Anywhere Blinds are not total blackout products, but it’s been great for my older girls, who are four and six, and can handle it not being completely dark – although they do a great job!  

gro anywhere blinds

Gro-Anywhere Blinds are basically a thick curtain or sheet that has suction cups around the edges to attach right to your window. When our girls sleep in our room, like when they’re sick or family is in town, we attach them to the window.

We’ve even used them to cover sliding glass doors on more than one occasion!

The only downfall here is that you never know how many windows you’ll have when traveling somewhere new, so it’s tougher to plan ahead – how many windows will you need to cover?

This leads me to a blackout hack that is going to sound ridiculous but seriously works…

Foil and Painter’s Tape

It’s cheap, it’s easy, and gets. the. job. done! Whether you’re waiting for your BlackoutEZ covers to arrive, or you have a temporary living situation, or you’re traveling, or just haven’t figured out what exactly what you want to do, foil and painter’s job does the trick.

foil blackout solution

We’ve used it many times – over our girls’ gigantic apartment window before our EZ covers arrived, when we lived with friends for a few months, and when we went on a beach vacation and had an extra window and not an extra suction cup blind.

You simply stretch the foil frame to frame, slightly overlap the foil, and put tape anywhere the foil meets the window frame, and anywhere the foil meets the foil, and it’s instantly dark.

I’ve heard some people use black poster or black trash bags instead of foil, but I’ve just tried foil.

So between the Blackout EZ Covers, the SlumberPod, Gro Anywhere Blinds, and good old foil and painters tape, you’re definitely covered. But I’ll share a few more options I haven’t personally tried but I know can be popular!

Other Popular Blackout Solutions

Redi Shade

While I’ve not personally used the Redi Shade, I’ve heard from others that they are a great solution, as well!

blackout redi shade

This is another type of blackout curtain that you can cut to fit your particular window size. It comes in a variety of colors, it’s easy to pull up, and you can still hang fun curtains in front of it!

Pro-tip: Cut the shades slightly larger than window frame to avoid any extra sunlight creeping in the sides.

Blackout Window Film

This is another product that I have not personally tried, yet a former family I worked with reached out to let me know they found this Blackout Window Film and love it!

blackout window film

They said they’re easy to put up, they block everything out, and they’re reusable!

Nicetown Blackout Curtains

An actual blackout curtain I have tried is the Nicetown Blackout Curtains.

blackout curtains

We didn’t use them on our girls’ windows, as light would have still streamed over the top and through the sides of the curtains. In our last apartment, however, the girls’ bedroom was right off the living room and the TV basically faced their bedroom door.

I was in there one night and I could tell my husband was watching some movie or playing video games because there was light dancing on the wall that my daughter’s crib was against. The door to their room kind of fit crookedly, so there were big gaps at the top and bottom, and it was so distracting and would be really annoying to see when trying to sleep!

So we actually hung a shower curtain rod above the doorway and hung the Nicetown Blackout Curtains in front of their doorway, and it definitely did the trick!

Under-Door Draft Blocker

If the gap between your child’s door and the floor is letting lots of light come through, you can get an under-door draft blocker and slide it right under!

We actually have these under our girls’ bedrooms right now since the kitchen lights stream right into their hallway, and they do the trick! I’ll link those, as well.

If you have blackout curtains that truly darken the room, but light comes through the sides…

Velcro could be your best friend!

If you have true blackout curtains but light sneaks out the sides, a hack that will allow you to keep those curtains yet still achieve total darkness is attaching Velcro to the sides of the curtains and to the window frame.

Ta da, no more light seeping through!


I wish we could all walk down the aisles at Target, snag the cute curtains that say, “blackout” or “total darkness,” and be golden, but that’s sadly just not the case!

Having a room pitch black is not only good for our kids’ sleep, but for ours, too!

And as you can see, while there are unfortunately many choices out there that just don’t do the job, there are some really great blackout products to choose from to make sure your child’s bedroom at home stays totally dark, as well as their sleeping environment while you’re away, so everyone can continue getting great rest.

With Grace,


Please note that this blog post contains some affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

blackout solutions