In November, we shared the wonderful news that Michigan-based nonprofit, Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc., had joined Pajama Program. With the Sweet Dreamzzz staff and its evidence-based sleep health education programs now incorporated into Pajama Program, we are taking a holistic approach to providing Good Nights for Good Days to even more children nationwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected children facing adversity, and Pajama Program recognizes that the physical and emotional resilience that comes from routines and sleep is critical for helping children and families cope.
But how exactly does it work to deliver sleep health education during a pandemic?
Well, like many organizations, we have pivoted from in-person to virtual programming – and we’re pleased to share that we’ve had some great success that will lead to meaningful impact!
Our Sweet Dreamzzz® for Early Childhood program helps preschoolers, parents/caregivers, and educators work together to foster healthy sleep routines. Pajama Program has transformed our professional development seminars for Head Start teachers and staff into engaging and effective virtual sessions using a mix of pre-recorded video components and live Zoom sessions. Participants receive the background information, interactive training and skills practice, and reusable teaching tools they need to deliver healthy sleep lessons to their preschool students, parents, and caregivers.
“I am excited after taking the training to present this to parents. I know sleep is a big topic for parents I work with and it’s great to have all this great information and a routine to share with them!” – Head Start family service worker
“Thank you for this training. Terrific job! I think this is an important component of teaching for preschoolers and can set them up for future good bedtime habits.” – Head Start teacher
Since January, Pajama Program has trained over 200 early childhood staff in five different states. They will be able to reach over 1,500 families with our sleep health education. Head Start teachers received classroom materials and two weeks of lesson plans to help their preschool students learn how to follow a simple, 5-step bedtime routine. Their preschool students received teaching teddy bears to help reinforce classroom lessons and to provide bedtime comfort. Trained Head Start staff is also able to conduct one-on-one or small group presentations to teach parents and caregivers about healthy sleep habits, and to help them address common bedtime challenges and set reachable goals. Parents and caregivers received bedtime routine charts, stickers, and magnets to help make bedtime a rewarding, team effort.
“We worked with Sweet Dreamzzz for years to help pre-K students, parents, and teachers work as a team to establish simple bedtime routines that help children get better sleep. I’m so pleased that we are continuing this healthy sleep partnership, now with Pajama Program,” said Tammy Coker, Family Engagement Specialist at Starfish Family Services in metro-Detroit. “Our staff and families are really enjoying the lessons and materials – children especially love caring for their teddy bears. And teachers and caregivers alike see improvements when children are getting the sleep they need.”
Pajama Program has also produced a Zoom-friendly version of our Sweet Dreamzzz® Parent Workshop so we can continue to safely reach parents and caregivers with useful sleep health strategies. With streamlined content, animated slides, and opportunities for participant polls and discussion, our 45-minute, virtual Workshop keeps parents and caregivers engaged while learning. Pajama Program trained two additional staff members to deliver our new, virtual Parent Workshop. Since February, 100 parents and caregivers from New York, Georgia, and Michigan have participated and learned how to establish a comforting bedtime routine that helps children sleep well. Participants also received new pajamas, books, and bedtime routine materials.
“Helpful? That doesn’t begin to describe it…warm, connecting, useful info that our parents could relate to, and understand…clear, concise tips…some have already expressed thanks…a true delight, and I’m so happy to have begun this collaboration.” – Family Advocate Director, Early Childhood Center
This is just the beginning when it comes to expanding our reach and amplifying our mission to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for all children to help them thrive. Stay tuned for more good news as Pajama Program continues to grow!