Long summer days are still going strong around here, but I know that school is going to be starting again soon. After all, there are all those supplies to purchase, open houses to attend, and fall activities to schedule! But another huge change will be those earlier bedtimes once school is back in session. For most parents, it’s not a big deal for their kids to stay up late since they usually sleep in late during the summer. In a few weeks, though, they will have to get up earlier to get ready for school. My kid is a night owl and would stay up later than his parents most nights! So I know that tackling his change in bedtime can be a challenge. But here is help for back to school bedtimes with a few tips and how to use Slumberkins in your routine.
Slumberkins founders Callie Christensen and Kelly Oriard have a friendship that mirrors a sisterhood. Best friends since high school, they’ve been by each other’s side through college, time overseas playing professional sports, and eventually starting their families around the same time.
Both choosing a career in education, they even pursued their Master’s degrees together. Kelly earned a dual Master’s in Family and Marriage Therapy and School Counseling, while Callie earned her Master’s in Elementary Education with an endorsement in special education. They are both passionate about teaching children the social emotional skills they need to succeed throughout life, whether through their time in the schools or by creating Slumberkins as a tool for children and parents.
Slumberkins was founded as a creative collaboration between Callie and Kelly in 2015, while they were both on maternity leave together. They knew they could use their education and background to create a more meaningful children’s product unlike anything on the market. By infusing each Slumberkins with therapeutic techniques and skill-building exercises through the accompanying Sleepytime Rhymes, the brand was launched with the intention of helping children everywhere.
With six children between them, Callie and Kelly’s experience as mothers has also played a major role in shaping Slumberkins into what it is today. Many of the creatures were inspired by their own children, or their experiences themselves as little ones. Their commitment to helping children navigate challenges is at the heart of the brand, with each Slumberkin teaching concepts like positivity, inclusion and self-worth.
About the Products:
- HARTLEY SNUGGLER BUNDLE – Hartley is a sleepy sloth who loves to snuggle. He comes with a Sleepytime Rhyme book that helps children with family attachments, transitions, how they feel about themselves, and accepting changes around them.
- AUTHENTICITY SNUGGLER BUNDLE – A beautiful unicorn, ready for bedtime, along with her book about staying true to yourself.
- SLEEPYTIME RHYME – SELF-ESTEEM – Travel with Bigfoot as he helps kids understand self-esteem and being positive about yourself.
- SLEEPYTIME RHYME – TRANSITIONS – Learn about reducing anxiety, family attachments & relationships, and how to cope with changes with help from Fox.
I know many families that struggle with bedtime on any given night. The same is true in my household, especially when you have multiple ages of children who have different schedules. But even when you just have one, or only one that still requires a set bedtime, it can be a challenge to convince the child that they do in fact need to sleep!
Routines are definitely a game changer, and the earlier you get started with them and your family, the better for everyone, I think! And bedtimes are no different. Except our “routine” starts after the school day is over really with snack and homework time. Here are a few things to consider adding to your routine, whether you’re just getting started or need to tweak your current schedule.
- Plan for snack and free time: After the kids have sat (mostly) still at school all day, chances are, they are going to be starving and needing to get out that pent up energy! So feed them a delicious snack (that you can make or plan for ahead of time) and physical activities. This might mean riding bikes, playing with the dogs, exploring the back yard, or whatever they are interested in. And if you have to move it indoors, consider hide and go seek, a treasure hunt, or fort building.
- Homework and chores: Depending on the age of your kids, they may need only a few minutes to work on their homework or it may take several hours. You may have to break it up before and after dinner, considering the load and the child’s ability to stay focused. Set up a particular place to do their homework (usually our kitchen table) and help as needed. Chores can also be done at this time, again, depending on the age and ability of the child.
- Evening Activities: For us, this means dinner and any sports, lessons, or other activities any of the children might have on a particular night. We try to eat around the table as often as we can, but sometimes a picnic dinner on the edge of the soccer field or passing out sandwiches and chips in the van has to work for us! It’s more important that you’re together, talking and enjoying the company.
- Bathtime: After being busy all day, no doubt the kids will need to clean up. Allow enough time for them to shower or bathe; you may have a child who likes to play with toys or soak in the tub while another just wants to get a shower and get on to something else. And that’s OK! Just try to have enough time built in before bed to allow for whatever you’ve agreed on.
- Bedtime: Probably the most important and anticipated part of the parent’s day! For our family, electronics are turned off after bath time is over until the kids are in bed. They’ve put on their PJs, picked out their outfits for the next day, their backpack is ready for the morning, and now it’s time to relax and get settled in the bed. Story time has always been a loved part of the day for all of us, even once the child is old enough to read for themselves or you read out loud as a family. As long as their little bodies are winding down and they are snuggling in for the night, you’re on the right path.
What time should your child go to bed? That’s always up to you of course. And there are a bunch of charts and research out there to help get you started if you aren’t sure. But no matter when they have to go to bed, by using a routine and perfect snuggling toys like Slumberkins, it will make life that much easier. There are no hard little plastic pieces for little ones to choke on or get lost, and they each have their own story they “star” in to read together.
Each book teaches important lessons like accepting yourself, staying true to yourself, and even about big issues like changes in the family, coping with stress and anxiety, and even keeping up their self-esteem. I like that the book has the Slumberkins characters in them as the younger kids love seeing them there. And the lessons are important ones, no matter the age or situation of a child. Our favorites are the Authenticity Unicorn and the story about Bigfoot in the Sleepytime Rhyme book. By having their beloved stuffed snuggle friends along with their Sleepytime Rhymes, I definitely have help for back to school bedtimes with Slumberkins.
We’ve added Slumberkins to our Back2School2018 on MDR Gift Guide! Check it out here!