Kids’ Sleep Tips We’ve Learned from Slumberkins

At Standard Dose, we’re big fans of Slumberkins, a brand that uses creature characters, stories, and affirmation cards to encourage early emotional learning. From Yeti who shows children how to practice mindfulness and enjoy experiences as they unfold to Unicorn who empowers little ones to be their authentic selves, the Slumberkins crew helps the next generation understand and manage big feelings. Now, these creatures are taking on a new adventure: television! Slumberkins, a show by the Jim Henson Company, premiered on Apple TV this November and is already sharing important messages, including how to sleep better. Below, we share three sleep tips we’ve learned from season one that you can practice with your child.

Harness the Power of Imagination

In the episode ‘Imagine Myself to Sleep’, Sloth spends the day making up monsters with his friends. But when nighttime comes, Sloth grows increasingly scared as they begin imagining these monsters in their bedroom. After taking some time to investigate their feelings, Sloth realizes that if he made up these monsters with his imagination, he can use that same tool to picture a less frightening and more peaceful sleep environment.

If your little one is struggling to sleep due to a fear of monsters under the bed, gently reminding them they can always use this creativity in a different way may help. 

Build a Sleep Routine

In the same episode, Sloth sings a song to help himself fall asleep. As well as being soothing, this song includes mention of the moon “drinking its tea” and the “stuffed animals snuggled in tight” who provide comfort. 

Sloth’s song reminds us that sleep routines (a set of calming, bedtime activities carried out consistently) can help children relax and enjoy a sense of security. Additionally, research has shown that children who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night.

To create a sleep ritual with your little one, think of three to four activities you can enjoy each night. These could be the activities mentioned in Sloth's episode–a lullaby, a calming drink, and cuddle time–or perhaps a bath, massage, and bedtime story.

Another element you can include in your child’s bedtime routine is a sleep affirmation. This is a short phrase they can say aloud each night to provide reassurance and encouragement. If they struggle with fears like Sloth, they can recite the affirmation from his episode: “When I feel scared at night in my bed, I can use my imagination to help me instead.” You can also develop your own affirmations around your child’s specific needs, such as replacing nightmares with sweet dreams.

Once you have your activities set, it's important to practice them each and every night before bed. It only takes a few nights to build an effective habit that can help make exciting nights when they find it harder to wind down (like Christmas Eve or before their birthday) a little easier.

Research has shown that children who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night.

Be There for Them 

And that doesn’t have to mean physically. In the episode ‘Bigfoot’s First Sleepover’, Bigfoot spends the night at his friend Fox’s house. However, when it comes time for Bigfoot to go to sleep, he struggles with missing his dad. Thankfully, Bigfoot’s dad gave him an ‘invisible thread’ that connects them. Bigfoot takes a moment to imagine his dad on the other end of the invisible thread which gives him the comfort and confidence to fall asleep. 

Giving your child a physical or imaginary token of your bond can provide them with the comfort they need to dispel anxious feelings and fall asleep soundly, especially when they’re staying with a friend or family member.

In every episode of Slumberkins, the characters also thank the audience for being their ‘listening friend’ as they examine their feelings and think about how to move forward. This serves as a valuable reminder to simply be there for little ones, listening to them as they work out their own emotions and gently guiding them in the right direction. It’s something small but it can mean a lot.