Some children (and adults) seem to sleep much better when they are in the dark especially at bedtime and in the early morning. There are lots of room darkening products on the market but many of them don't provide the coverage that is needed, either because light seeps through the material or because they are installed to fit inside the window and light leaks through at the edges. There are several ways to get around this.
The most important thing is that no matter what you install make sure it is bigger than your window frame on the all sides
Here is a list of solutions that we have used over the years.
If you need a quick cheap solution:
We often recommend clients tape black garbage bags in their windows until they find a better solution or if you are travelling. An alternative is to use black bristle board or a heavy blanket.
There are different types of blackout blinds we prefer the traditional roller blind. Make sure it is blackout and that you purchase the blind wider than the window frame so there is no light leakage. Roller blinds cost about $20 for an average size window and when they are rolled up they are hardly noticable. In addition they don't collect dust like other window coverings. You can get them at any building store like Home depot or at a specialty store.
Heavy drapes will also do the trick but make sure that the rod is installed above the window and the drape is wider than the window. I noticed Ikea now has blackout curtain panels, however I'm not sure how well they work. If you've tried them be sure to let us know!
UPDATE: Ikea blackout curtain panels are amazing. The fabric blocks the light well, I would just suggest making sure that your curtain rod is wider and taller than your window so you don't have to worry about light seeping through the edges or top of the curtain. There are 2 styles, both work but the one without the rings will work better. Check it out here
If you happen to live in a place where the windows are floor to ceiling, an inexpensive option is to use a PVC plumbing pipe as a curtain rod. Either way be sure to put the curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible. If the light still sneaks in from the top, consider cover the top part of the window with black paper, bristle board etc. or you can lay a towel or blanket across the top of the rod.
Quick low-cost solutions:
There are a few different blackout options available at department stores such as Walmart and Home Depot. These are paper blinds that are designed for people moving into a new home. If you need to trim a paper blind, consider making it a bit wider to the blind touches the endge of the window to avoid light leaking through. Here are a few of these options:
Our clients in Ontario and the rest of Canada don't usually have a big problem in the winter time unless they live in area with street lights, however with the days getting longer it's a good idea to find a solution to keep your bedroom dark.
You might need to go with the layered option if your current window covering is not enough. Try adding a roller blind under curtains so you can get more coverage.
Please comment below and share your black out ideas. What worked for you? What didn't?