Charting Our Course from Pajamas and Books to Caregiver Programming

By Carol Ripple, PhD, Chief Program Officer

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about changes at Pajama Program since we reintroduced ourselves: I heard things are changing at Pajama Program—what’s up with your mission? What happened to pajamas and books? What’s this about caregiver programming—what’s a caregiver, anyway? Read on for some of the answers.

Pajama Program’s mission is about children’s bedtime and well-being. We believe bedtime is a magical time for caregivers and children to connect, often by reading a storybook together before sleep. This is true for all children, wherever they sleep and whoever tucks them in. So our mission is to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine for all children to help them thrive, and our vision is good nights for good days for all children, everywhere.

We will continue to provide pajamas and books to children who are faced with uncertainty in their lives. Pajamas and books represent what matters: comfort, security, and connection with a loving caregiver at bedtime. We offer books and pajamas to help caregivers and children connect, but the most important thing about a comforting bedtime routine is the connection itself—that, and the stability provided by a daily routine. (See our Bedtime Routine Tip Sheet for ideas on what else a routine might include.)

Bedtime is important for all children, but, as with so many things, children living with instability in their lives are the least likely to have what they need to help them thrive. Whether they are faced with losing loved ones, foster care placement, unsafe housing, homelessness, violence, or their parents just can’t make ends meet—too many children face uncertainty about what’s next. And instability often means that routines are hard to come by. Pajama Program aims to make sure all children have equal access to a comforting bedtime routine, and that means we focus on children experiencing uncertainty.

Most of the time, we are not with the children at bedtime. Our volunteers connect to children when they read to them in our Reading Centers and sometimes they tuck them in when they volunteer at one of our Community Partner organizations. But most of the time, we are not there to provide a comforting bedtime routine—primary caregivers are. That’s why we are now reaching out to parents, guardians, relatives, program staff, and other trusted loved ones who are with children at bedtime.

Meeting our mission means empowering caregivers to provide a comforting bedtime routine. Several Community Partner organizations have asked us to provide their staff or caregivers with information about bedtime and sleep. We are working with our expert Good Night Advisory Council and our Community Partners as we develop the most effective ways to do that.

Ever since Pajama Program was founded in 2001, we’ve been committed to supporting a comforting bedtime routine for children. Now, we are adding caregiver programming to the ways we support our mission. In future posts, we’ll talk more about the evidence behind our work with caregivers. You can learn more about the Good Night Advisory Council members guiding our caregiver programming here.

Carol Ripple is the Chief Program Officer at Pajama Program. You can read more about Carol here.

Help us support good nights for good days for all children, everywhere.