Toddler sleep and sibling rivalry are two “areas of opportunity” in our household. Fortunately, one of my best friends is a Sleep Consultant. Through her help, I have slowly been able to develop better sleeping habits in my nocturnal honey badger of a son. Since we moving into our new house, my former co-sleeper is now in bed with his big sis. Sleep goes really well. Falling asleep makes me kind of want to pull out my hair sometimes. My kids see the time before bed as a last ditch effort to push each other’s buttons before going into brief hibernation from their monkey antics. Their go-to? Stealing each other’s pillows and laying claim to the other’s side of the bed. The response from the kid on receiving end of the teasing is blood curdling. Recently, we got two new pillows and their matching Mini Mes thinking this might help!
The pillows, ordered through MyHappyPillow.com were developed by six-year-old, Isabella. This bright and creative little girl thought it would be worthwhile for kids to be able to express their emotions through lovable and snuggly pillows. My Happy Pillow was born in 2014 and continues to grow through this insightful girl’s imagination I deliberately ordered two different pillows from MyHappyPillow.com for my territorial children. When our packages arrived, they were greeted with a great amount of excitement, love, and rigorous testing (my son decided to jump on his repeatedly). It took no time for my daughter and then son to observe the differences in the pillows’ emotions. We selected Leo the Lion, who is happy on one side and scared on the other side, and Spotty the Giraffe who is happy and bored. While they just interpreted them as happy or sad, and my son remains convinced his giraffe is a monkey, it’s cool to still see the play and educational value. Though they are well-crafted, good quality pillows, they were thicker than our usual household ones and I wasn’t sure the kids would take to them. I couldn’t have been more wrong! My toddlers bring their pillows to bed, know which ones are theirs, sleep on them for the whole night, and have even carted them into our bed when they’re had a nightmare. They make their way downstairs in the morning. These pillows are a huge hit in our household and I would recommend them to anyone. Click here to enter to win your own pillow and its matching Mini Me from My Happy Pillow! Open to residents of Canada and the US only.
When it comes to toddler sleep, there are sleep props that actually help little ones feel safe, secure, comforted, and access to them can help ease them back to sleep on their own. These props scaffold young children’s ability to self-sooth and sleep successfully through the night. In contrast, there are others that impede a child’s sleep independence and act more as a crutch than anything.
What Are Good Or Bad Sleep Props?
Bad Sleep Props
Rocking, holding, bouncing, lying beside your child (I’m guilty as charged on this one, so I’m NOT judging), nursing, and bottle feeding your baby or toddler to sleep are not good sleep props. Why? Children’s sleep cycle moves from deep sleep to a partial state of arousal. We actually go through this too, but don’t notice ourselves waking as much as we actually do during sleep. A child who has fallen asleep under conditions that are no longer present when they wake typically require those same conditions to fall back asleep at 12am, 1:30am, 4am, and 6am… (Can you tell I’ve gone through this myself?!?).
Good Sleep Props
- Black-out blinds: Have a problem with your child waking at the crack of dawn or not wanting to go to sleep because of the longer summer evenings? Black-out blinds will be your best friend. Don’t have money, time, a drill, or a desire to put up another set of blinds? Take an old sheet and pin it to cover your child’s bedroom window.
- White noise: I wasn’t sold on this one at first. But for babies, it helps recreate the sounds they listen to in utero. For older children, it drowns out noise from Mom and Dad still being up, is calming, and is constant throughout the night. You can get free white noise apps for your phone or tablet.
- A consistent, calming bedtime routine is key to helping babies, toddlers, and children unwind and predict sleep. The recommended duration, start to finish, is thirty minutes.
- A lovie: Whether it’s a stuffed animal, a special blanket, or a pillow from My Happy Pillow (my kids actually sleep with the pillow and the little backpack buddies), having one or two attachment objects gives little ones a sense of security and comfort in the middle of a dark night.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by My Happy Pillow. All opinions are my own or are thanks to the help of Certified Sleep Sense Consultant, Chelsea LePage. One of my favourite people out there <3