Pajama Program Model for Change

What is it about bedtime? Over the years we have heard from countless adults involved in Pajama Program’s work that their own childhood bedtime routine, or lack thereof, plays a significant role in their lives, which is why they love giving back through Pajama Program. As we delve into achieving our mission, we recognize how the connections we are make with youth across the United States play a role in shaping their own comforting bedtime routines—from cozy pajamas and inspiring storybooks to enabling parents and caregivers the space and time to connect with children during bedtime.

The Situation

Getting enough good sleep is important for emotional and physical health, learning, memory, and being in a good mood. All of these are essential for children to thrive in school, in play, and at home. But too little attention is focused on how to promote good sleep and sleep habits among children and youth. There just are not enough accessible resources to help parents and caregivers establish comforting bedtime routines so that children can get the sleep they need. 

Children need consistency in their lives in order to reach their full potential and thrive. A comforting bedtime routine and time to connect with a caregiver is the start to a Good Night, paving the way for a Good Day.

Our mission is to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for all children to help them thrive. In practice we recognize that, as with so many things, children who live with uncertainty get fewer of the resources they need compared to their peers living in more predictable, stable environments. To help ensure that all children have a good night, we focus our activities on children who face losing loved ones, foster care placement, inadequate or unsafe housing, homelessness, violence in the home, or whose families struggle to make ends meet. Too many children face uncertainty on a daily basis about what’s next, making routines difficult to implement and maintain. Pajama Program aims to make sure all children have equal access to a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep.

Our Response

A good day simply isn’t possible without a good night. That’s why we believe the 24 hour day starts at the most critical time of day: bedtime. Together, we can help close the 24-Hour Good Day Loop for all children.

Pajama Program starts with the tools for a comforting bedtime routine for children from infancy through age 18: cozy pajamas and an inspiring storybook. Our Sleep Health Education programming provides children, educators, parents and caregivers with resources and strategies to develop and maintain comforting bedtime routines.

Pajama Program offers bedtime resources and sleep education nationwide, as well as through local programs in New York City, Atlanta, and metro-DetroitTo achieve its mission, Pajama Program relies on a national network of volunteers, generous donors, and partnerships with 4,000 community-based organizations across the United States, including Puerto Rico. We also maintain Centers in New York City and Atlanta, where children connect with our caring volunteers, spend an hour reading, and leave with a new pair of pajamas and new book to keep!

Our work is guided by the Good Night Bill of Rights and supported by donors, grants, brand partners, and our caring volunteers.

Why Educators, Parents & Caregivers?

We know that parents and caregivers seek ways to help children in their care feel comforted and secure. A comforting bedtime routine, and the resulting opportunity for emotional closeness with a caring adult, is associated with better sleep among children. All caregivers—parents, guardians, program staff and volunteers, teachers, and older youth—can influence comforting bedtime routines for children in their care.

Our Model

Meeting our mission means providing the tools for bedtime and empowering caregivers to provide a comforting bedtime routine so they can help their children thrive. We engage a national network to reach thousands of children, parents, and caregivers every year. Guided by our Good Night Advisory Council, Board of Directors, and leadership staff, we enlist thousands of volunteers across the country and collaborate with Community Partners to connect with children and families. Our Community Partners include child welfare and foster care agencies, domestic violence and family shelters, transitional housing and services for the homeless, community-based social service organizations, and many other providers who support children and families exposed to adversity. Our responsive donation system allows us to quickly distribute pajamas and books based on each Community Partner’s need. We also work with them year-round to collect feedback in order to develop information and programming well-suited to the families and children they support. We currently have information to share via print, web, and in person for program staff and primary caregivers. By integrating evaluation research as we test and implement new programs, we’ll fine-tune content to achieve impact. 

We also connect with children at our Pajama Program Centers in New York City and Atlanta, where we host groups from Community Partner organizations to read with volunteers and take home a new pair of cozy pajamas and an inspiring new book. At our Centers, we share information about a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep with Community Partner program staff (many of whom are teachers) and with the children to share with their parents and caregivers. 

Through our national distribution network and at our Centers, we have been sharing gifts of pajamas and books to children since 2001.

Pajama Program has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for 11 consecutive years, in a class of only 1% of charities that have earned this transparency and efficacy distinction. Pajama Program meets the Better Business Bureau’s 20 Charity Standards, the highest ranking for nonprofits.