Sleep Help for Kids and How Sleepytime Club Changed My Life

Sleep is something which all of us need and most of us do not spend enough time doing.  We all have reasons why we do not make sleep a priority, but when it comes to our growing children, we really need to make sure that they have good sleeping habits so that they value sleep and know that it is something they need to remain happy and healthy.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

“Children who are sleep deficient might be overly active and have problems paying attention. They also might misbehave, and their school performance can suffer.

Sleep-deficient children may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation.”

Sleep for everyone is important, but sleep for our children is imperative and in our hands.  We need to be sure that they are sleeping enough.  This is something that I have been struggling with for a long time.

As a military family, we finally had a decent bedtime routine with my son, but then chaos ensued as I gave birth to my youngest daughter, we received orders to PCS (move) from Eglin Air Force Base (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) to Nellis Air Force Base (Las Vegas, NV) and my husband deployed 4 months after we arrived in Las Vegas.  My bedtime routine with them fell apart and I started allowing them to develop bad habits.  My son would wander into my bed while my husband was deployed, and I did not force him to return to his bed, mostly out of sheer exhaustion.  My youngest daughter was still an infant, and her sleeping habits at the time were much better than my son’s.  When my husband returned, we were able to put together a more consistent bedtime routine, which I thought was working well.  This new routine allowed the kids to sleep in their own beds for about 4 – 5 hours, but then they would come into our room for the rest of the night.  We’ve been living with this, but lately, my youngest daughter started preventing me from working.

I know that I am responsible for the sleeping habit of them wandering into my room to snuggle in the middle of the night, and I was in need of finding something that would help them stay in their own beds and sleep through the night.  My youngest daughter started cutting the time she spent in her own bed down to just 3 or 4 hours, which began to intrude upon the time I spend working, and the private time in the evening that my husband and I share.  I had done the crying it out thing with my son, and it did work, but with 2 kids sharing a room, it is nearly impossible to do without disturbing either his or her sleep.  The problem has never really been getting them to go to sleep, it is getting them to stay asleep and remain in their own beds.

As time passed, I read several articles I came across on Twitter.  I found an article that was worth a retweet.  It was an article about Personal Care Instructions.  I found it to be very creative and well thought out.  I loved how it made you really think about what you need to do to take care of yourself and ensure your health and well-being.  I followed the Sleepytime Club more closely after I read this article, hoping that I would come across information that might help me.  Their content was pure and original, different from most of the things I have read regarding sleep and kids.  I started communicating with Brook Packard, creator and owner of Sleepytime Club.  Brook offered me a free Sleepytime Bedtime Kit, Heart, available here.  I accepted her offer.

I will admit that I am a huge skeptic when it comes to sleep programs because for me, most of them do not deliver the results I hope for.  I am someone that will give something my best, though.  I read through all of the material, including downloading the free Bedtime Blueprint and Sleepytime Club’s Eat to Sleep All-Stars.  These are both great resources to help you create a solid and healthy bedtime routine.

I downloaded the Sleepytime Club Heart bedtime kit to my Kindle Fire.  I have the Kindle Fire 7″, the newer version, which comes with the blue light shade.  I turn this feature on and set the ambience to very dim and utilize the candlelight glow.  This makes the bedtime kit easy to transport, blue light free, and allows us to play the album directly from the Kindle.  There may be other devices out there that have employed the blue light shade, but I am unaware of them.  The instructions say to print the book out, but this is one direction that we did deviate from and it did not impede the effectiveness of the bedtime kit.

We set up our electronics off time at 4pm, so we read books, play board games, do puzzles, play instruments, color, or find some other quiet or creative activities to do.  We eat dinner between 5pm and 5:30pm, aiming for 5:15pm.  At 6:15pm, the kids take a bath, change into their pajamas, and brush their teeth.  By 6:45pm, we get together on the couch and read a few books.  We call this our calm down time.  At 7pm, my husband, the two little kids, and I move into their bedroom.  We go through the bedtime kit, taking turns reading and singing, and each of us will focus on one child so that they each still receive individual attention.  After we finish the kit, we turn on the album and leave the room.

The first two nights, my son slept in his bed all night and my daughter did not come into our room until almost 4am.  This was a huge achievement for us.  On the third night, my toddling 22 month old stayed in her bed all night.  This bedtime kit has been a dream for my family.  It is so simple and easy to do, it has blown my mind.  The response of my 4-year-old and almost 2-year-old has completely awed me.  My evenings have become more free to get in personal time, time with my husband, and work.  There are still times when my son wakes up because he has to go to the bathroom, or my daughter wakes up thirsty, but for the most part, within just 2 weeks of using this bedtime kit and having a solid bedtime routine, our lives have changed.

The bedtime kits come with:

  • Original illustrated storybook
  • Fresh and simple bedtime activities
  • Mother Goose Rhyme with corresponding coloring page
  • Two Lullaby recordings plus written lyrics for easy sing along
  • Calming, connecting “Put the Day to Bed” ritual
  • Digital album to leave behind as you turn the lights out

The “Put the Day to Bed” ritual is my husband’s favorite part of the kit.  He thinks that it is truly the key in helping them sleep through the night.  I love everything that the kit has to offer.  My son has already started reciting some of the poems and singing some of the songs.  As we go through our routine every night, it occurs to me that this will be something that can be steady in our youngest children’s lives, no matter how much chaos may ensue because of moves and environmental changes.  This routine has the potential to become their safety blanket during travel for vacations, moves to new places, and disturbances in the normal household environment or routines.  This is a well thought out, creative, and beautiful set of lullabies, story, poems, meaningful interactions, and a peaceful and calming album with a voice that is gentle and eases children to sleep.

I did receive this bedtime kit for free, and some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, but I am extremely sincere in saying that these kits will help you if your child is having difficulty staying asleep or getting to sleep.  I did not expect the results that have occurred.  I am extremely happy and delighted that I connected with Sleepytime Club and Brook Packard.  This is an easy to follow program that will help parents that have kids with sleeping trouble or problems.  There are several kits available here and the option to join the club and receive bedtime kits monthly here.  

Brook was an early childhood music specialist and teacher who survived as a horrid sleeper for many years.  She has attended several lectures and spoken with several medical doctors about sleep and different approaches to it.  She stated that several sleep experts have said that sleep is a mystery, but I think that she has started to unravel that enigma with her work.  The Snuggle Up Song, Sleepytime Song, Put the Day to Bed meditations and sometimes the interactive touching poem are all her original work and are a part of each bedtime kit.  She taps into public domain poems, stories and adapted folk tales to complete the bedtime kits.  She is definitely doing something right, and I highly suggest trying at least one kit to see if it works as well for you as it did for my family.

We will be leaving on vacation in a couple of weeks, so I will revisit this post to let you all know how my kids handled vacation with the Sleepytime Bedtime Kit as a familiar, calming part of their interrupted lives.

Post-Vacation Update

I always like to start packing in advance when I am getting ready to go on a vacation.  I have everything organized, lists written so that I can cross things off, food prep (snacks, lunch and breakfast) listed out and done as early as possible.  Doing this helps me remember everything I need.  This particular time, I had my kindle already packed and forgot we had one more night to put the kids to bed. Well, my kindle had the bedtime kit on it, and guess what I forgot to repack.  That’s right, we left the house and began a 34 hour car drive without the bedtime kit.  

We arrived in New Jersey late and spent the evening with family.  Our bedtime routine was completely off.  I read books and sang our old bedtime songs, but the kids, though tired, were not going to sleep.  My mother-in-law volunteered to cuddle with them the first night, and eventually they did fall asleep.  I contacted the Sleeptime Club the next day and they were extremely understanding of my situation.  They sent me the Stars and Heart bedtime kits through email, and I was able to download them onto my daughter’s kindle.  The second night in New Jersey, we used the Stars bedtime kit, and it was a success.  I read through the kit with my almost two and four year-old and was able to leave the album playing and they fell asleep.

Once again, the bedtime kits offered by Sleepytime Club worked as a safety blanket and the consistent routine the kit provides has created a learned behavior in my children.  When we begin going through the kit, they know that it is time to go to bed.  These kits travel easily, bring comfort in unfamiliar settings, and serve as queues for the kids to know that it is time to rest, even if the rest of your daily routine is unfamiliar to them because of vacation.  These kits saved me from having to go to bed at the same time as my kids so I could get them to sleep.  They provided me with the freedom to visit with my family uninterrupted.  

As expected, because we were not in familiar surroundings during our time in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, my almost two year-old did not stay in the strange new bed all night, and ended up wandering into the room my husband and I were staying in after about 6 hours of sleep.  I anticipated this would happen, and am absolutely grateful Sleepytime Club responded timely and was able to get me the bedtime kits so quickly.  It was nice to be able to enjoy my evenings, even while on vacation.  The kit also calmed my children down enough that for the road trip back, we were able to get them to sleep much earlier, while they sat in their car seats.  This result shocked me once again and I continue to be amazed and awed by how my children respond to these lovely, calming bedtime kits.

In summary, I highly recommend that if you do not have a bedtime routine, or you have a bedtime routine that is not working with the results you want, you should definitely try one bedtime kit from Sleepytime Club.  Download the free information they provide you with at the links above, and read through the instructions.  The success these kits have had with my children was completely unexpected and has left me forever grateful to Brook Packard and the Sleepytime Club.