New Year, New Pillow

How often should a toddler pillow be replaced? Depending on usage, a good rule of thumb is about once per year. 

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

There’s no mystery that your child’s pillow will need to be replaced eventually. We all have our favorite pillows and if we’re honest, we should have probably tossed them long ago. But this is our kids we are talking about, and we are typically more discerning. So how often should a toddler pillow be replaced? Depending on usage, a good rule of thumb is about once per year

Why Replace a Pillow that is Washable? 

I’ll be honest, I never washed a pillow in my life until I had kids. Somehow, kids manage to get things dirty even when they sleep! Plus, we suddenly start to worry about all the things science tells us to be concerned about what we may or may not have considered before like allergens and dust mites. And of course, kids just seem to be more, well, snotty, drooly, and… well, you get the idea. So washable is important when there is only a pillowcase between body parts and our every night pillow. So why replace it if it seems fine?

Over time, the very thing that keeps those pillows cleaner is the thing that adds to the deterioration of the pillow’s structure. When we want to keep our clothes super nice, we wash on gentle and hope they last longer. A pillow is no different. But if you wash it a lot, it is definitely going to wear out sooner. The filling may clump or get out of alignment making the original shape unrecognizable. And, the tight weave the keeps out those allergens and dust mites may become looser with months of frequent washing. Spinal alignment is important for all of us, and it’s even more critical to our kids’ growing bodies.

So if it’s been a year or so, definitely give your child’s pillow a good once over to decide if it’s time for a replacement.

How to Get the Longest Life from a Toddler Pillow 

Although replacing your pillow yearly is the standard, there is proper care and maintenance to keep in mind that it can lengthen the lifetime of your pillow. Taking care of a toddler pillow isn’t difficult to do when you follow these steps: 

  • BUY GOOD QUALITY – Premium materials and quality manufacturing make sure the pillow will stay “like new” longer.
  • WASH & FLUFF – Choose a toddler pillow that can be machine washed and dried so you can keep it clean and fluffed up. Make sure to dry completely. Gently fluff up the pillow after cleaning and use.
  • USE A PILLOW PROTECTOR – Using a pillow protector alleviates the need to wash the pillow at all, naturally extending its life. This puts a waterproof barrier between any elements touching the pillowcase and the actual pillow.

The Little Sleepy Head toddler pillow is made in the USA of high-quality materials, is washable, and contains NO chemicals whatsoever. It is naturally hypoallergenic! Their pillow protector is waterproof, also hypoallergenic, and allows for no washing of the actual pillow. Its side zipper closure makes sure that nothing will make its way past the barrier. It makes any accidents or spills easy to switch out without disrupting sleep for too long if in the night.

If you have any questions about how to care for your child’s toddler pillow, or about pillow protectors, we would love to hear from you.


30 Summer Fun Activities to Keep Your Kids Smiling

Click HERE to download!

Little Sleepy Head Summer Bucket List

Across the country, school is coming to an end for the summer. Some states have already had their last day of school, while others will continue right through until the end of June. Regardless of when that last day of school happens, that leaves parents with that ever-looming question…what are we going to do for the next couple of months?

Summer is a fantastic time of year to have fun with the kids. The weather is great for everything from water play to tasty icy treats. For the first little while, the novelty of the hot temperatures and the schedule-free days can make it seem like the different ways to have fun will never end. Then, quite suddenly, everyone is out of ideas. What do you do?

Little Sleepy Head has you covered! We’ve come up with a fresh, fun, and inspiring list of 30 things the whole family can enjoy together just once or as many times as you want. Click here to download.

Use this list however you’d like to make sure this is the best summer ever! You can turn it into a family challenge and try to complete the entire list. If everything on the list is a bit too ambitious, consider letting every family member choose their favorite to make sure it isn’t missed. Or, you can always edit the document and add your own activities! 

Remember that this list is meant to inspire. You can take it as literally or figuratively as you want! Use it to let your creativity come to life.   

Making ice cream sounds like fun, but you need to save the real stuff for another day?  You can always make play dough ice cream cones and enjoy adding as many scoops as you want in your pretend summertime treats. No drive-in movie theater near your house? Why not watch a favorite on a blanket in the backyard, instead? The ideas and possibilities are nearly endless!

The goal is, after all, to have fun together and make this the best family summer yet!

Top 5 Lessons to Learn About Traveling with a Toddler

With the warm weather finally here, many families are getting ready to head away on road trips and summer vacations. That said, when you have a toddler, the standard rules of travel can change a little bit. Vacationing with a toddler needs some extra planning and a whole lot of common sense (at a time when you might not be feeling too rational).

To make sure your trip – whether it be a day trip or a road trip halfway across the country – goes well, keep the following lessons in mind. These have been learned by millions of families over the decades. Discover them before having to learn them firsthand, and you’ll be ahead of the game on your trip.

  1.   Simplicity always works best – The fewer the hurdles, steps and complexities, the less chance there is that something will go wrong. While this is true in virtually any situation, it’s especially true when you have a toddler with you. The less you need to stand in lines, wait in lounges, switch flights and wonder where and what you’ll be eating next, the better. There will be a time to head out on last minute, unplanned adventures. The toddler years aren’t necessarily that time. If that means skipping the airport in order to drive there instead, so be it. If that means bringing a massive cooler of sandwiches and snacks instead of finding somewhere to eat along the way, that’s all right, too.
  2.   Unhappiness happens – When you have a toddler, particularly if you have at least two kids, at least one of them will be unhappy at any given point. The toddler, the younger, or the older one will always be uncomfortable, hungry or inexplicably unhappy. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It is a fact of traveling with a toddler. The key is to remain flexible. Bend a little to keep stress levels down and fun levels high. Try to think of fun in terms of being happy instead of being over-the-top excited. That way, there is less of a likelihood of disappointment and more chances for genuine contentment and fun.
  3.   Keep things familiar – It’s true that the whole point of a vacation is to get away and to experience something new. However, there are areas when familiarity can bring kids a lot of comfort. Sleeping in a new bed can be far more comfy with a toddler pillow from home. Long rides in cars, on airplanes or on buses feel more secure with a lovey right beside them. Even familiar scents like a soothing linen spray used at home can help to reduce stress levels and ease unhappiness.
  4.   Don’t expect to see everything on your itinerary – You may be able to see a dozen things every day when you’re traveling on your own, but that will be very different with your toddler. Expect to see less than half what you would if you were traveling alone. Instead, focus on seeing things the entire family will enjoy and spending quality time there. Don’t pressure yourselves to get through one thing so you’ll be able to see the next thing. Enjoy that one thing while you’re there. Make a priority list of the things you absolutely must see while you’re visiting and head there first.
  5.   Don’t expect a relaxing getaway – Think of your vacation as an experience and an adventure, not necessarily a time for relaxing and rejuvenating. If you thought you were going to be able to enjoy some reading, to lie on the beach, or to spend hours in the pool on a giant inflatable lounger with a cocktail in your hand, you’re about to be very surprised.  You’ll have fun. You’ll see new things. You will look forward to your next trip. However, you will also likely get less sleep than you do at home and will be glad to start returning to your usual bedtime routines once you return to your own beds again!  Keep an open mind, don’t set unreasonable expectations, and let yourself enjoy the moments together!


Tasty, Healthy Bedtime Snacks for Toddlers

Even when your toddler eats all his/her meals and snacks throughout the day, tummies can occasionally grumble at bedtime. While it’s easy to think that it isn’t a good idea to have a snack before bed, it can be equally problematic if you leave a little belly feeling hungry.

Hunger can make it very difficult for a child – or an adult, for that matter – to feel restful.  The discomfort can make bedtime a lengthy and sleepless affair.

The key to snacks at bedtime is to choose something light, adequately satisfying, nutritious and, of course, something your little one actually likes! When you choose a bedtime snack, you need to choose a food and a portion that will ease the hunger pangs without giving your kid a burst of energy.

Keep the following in mind when selecting a snack before you brush your son or daughter’s teeth and start getting ready for bed.

  • Nutrition – Nutrient dense snacks are a great way to help support your child’s nutrition. If your little one is peckish at bedtime, think back over what he or she ate that day. Could your child do with another serving of veggies? Was today a relatively low day when it comes to calcium?

    Use this opportunity to top up your little one’s nutrient balance. Even better, many kids who might refuse to eat healthy foods during the daytime are often more likely to be willing to enjoy them before bed to satisfy their hunger.

    Perfect veggie options can include cucumbers and celery. They’re high in fiber, which makes them filling while being high in water content, which is hydrating. These can both promote better sleep.


  • Soothing foods – Certain foods have calming properties. For instance, whole grain foods often also contain a natural chemical called tryptophan.  That chemical is naturally relaxing.

    Still, this isn’t the same for all carbs. Sugary and processed foods such as cookies, breakfast cereal, and other similar items are low in nutrition and may cause a spike and crash in energy. Instead, consider a piece of whole grain toast with a touch of hummus, natural peanut butter (the sugar-free type), or mashed banana.


  • Calcium-rich snacks – Many foods that are high in calcium not only satisfy hunger very easily but they also make soothing choices for bedtime. A little bit of plain Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese topped with finely chopped banana or used as a dip for some whole grain crackers can make a great snack option for filling little tummies.

When you serve your little one a snack, make sure it’s eaten sitting up at a table, not in bed (to reduce the risk of choking and to promote restfulness once your child is ready to sleep). Keep portions small so they’re big enough to satisfy hunger without being large enough to make your little one feel full.  That full feeling can delay sleep.


Why Does Bedwetting Happen and What Can Parents Do About it?

Bedwetting – also known as nocturnal enuresis – is very common in kids under the age of 10 years. In fact, there are an estimated 5 million children across the United States who wet the bed. Among them, are 20 percent of five-year-olds, 10 percent of 7-year-olds, and even 5 percent of 10-year-olds. Those statistics are from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Still, when it’s your child wetting the bed, the statistics aren’t your main concern. You want to know that your child is healthy and that this won’t be a chronic problem that will continue into later life.

The most common reason that kids will wet the bed is that your child’s body is developing at its own rate and overnight bladder control simply hasn’t caught up yet. It’s nothing to worry about and it’s not something that can be rushed. Still, if you are concerned, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a doctor to make sure there isn’t another underlying cause.

Other reasons can include drinking too much close to bedtime, which can cause too much urine production during the night. That said, it’s important to note that this is only the case if your child is drinking large amounts of fluids right before bed. Restricting fluids will not stop bedwetting from happening if it is caused by another factor such as natural body development.

Children who sleep exceptionally deeply are prone to bedwetting because a full bladder often isn’t enough to wake them up. Again, this is something that typically fades with age, as extremely deep sleepers won’t usually stay that way throughout their entire lives.

Kids can also be at a higher risk of wetting the bed at times when their typical lifestyle or routines are being disrupted. If your little one doesn’t usually wet the bed but suddenly starts, it could be because of stress, being overly tired before bed, feeling disrupted from a large change in life such as starting daycare, school, or having a new sibling, or it could even be an indicator of a minor illness such as a cold.

There are also certain underlying medical conditions that can make bedwetting more common. Urinary tract infections and constipation are the most common and are quite easy to treat. That said, it can also be caused by more serious conditions such as diabetes.  Therefore, if your little one has other symptoms in addition to bedwetting, a checkup at the doctor is a good next step.

No matter what the reason is for your child’s bedwetting, there isn’t anything that can be done to force him or her to stay dry overnight. Most children simply need to grow out of it.  This can take weeks, months, or even years.

The most important thing you can do is to remain calm – even when it means changing the bed in the middle of the night – and make sure your son or daughter does not feel upset by what is happening. This is why the majority of pediatricians won’t even recommend any treatments for bedwetting in children younger than 7 years old – it’s a natural part of growing up.

To try to create as little disruption as possible, consider using washable underwear meant for kids who wet the bed. Training pants can be very helpful for smaller kids, but there are also reusable or disposable types of underwear meant for children who are slightly older, some of which include an absorbent insert that can be washed or thrown away.

A waterproof mattress protector and pillow protector can also be very helpful for keeping nighttime bedding changes as straightforward as possible. IMG_2158_1024x1024When all you need to do is change the sheets, it’s a lot easier than trying to clean a wet mattress or damp pillow.

Don’t forget to make sure your child uses the toilet before going to bed. Make it a regular part of your son or daughter’s bedtime routine. This way, your little one will start off with an empty bladder.

When bedwetting does happen, be understanding and reassuring. Make certain your child knows that it wasn’t his or her fault and that this happens to many children.  Punishing or embarrassing your kid for something that is completely involuntary will only lead to stress which can prolong the problem.

For 90 percent of children, bedwetting will correct itself by the time they reach 7 years old. Hang in there. You’re not alone.

What Makes a Great and Effective Bedtime Story for Your Kid?

Bedtime isn’t just the end of the day when a kid climbs in under the blankets and goes to sleep. It’s a transition time and a ritual. It involves certain practical steps such as brushing teeth and putting on pajamas. It also involves certain practices that are more focused on bonding and even entertainment, but that are no less important.

Some families choose this time to talk about their days together. Some use this time to talk about new lessons learned or things they are thankful for. Some enjoy a bedtime story. Or you may choose combinations of these different activities.

A bedtime story is a tradition that goes back for centuries. Even before printed books or widespread literacy, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents told stories to fascinate, educate and ease children to sleep.

Still, even after centuries, there is a big difference between a great bedtime story and a not-so-great one. Just because a book contains a fantastic story, it doesn’t necessarily make it appropriate for bedtime.  After all, if you’re reading something stressful or frightening, you’re likely going to create the opposite effect from the one you wanted.

The purpose of a bedtime story is to entertain, but also to soothe and calm your child. Here are some of the features to watch for in a book that will make a truly exceptional bedtime story:

  • Subject and theme – This is the easiest feature to spot in a bedtime story. Choose stories that are interesting and calm, as opposed to being too exciting, scary, or giggly. There are lots of great books that calmly describe happy times, that offer happy tales of self-acceptance, that describe the world as it winds down for the night, or that even talk about bedtime routines and all the things we do before getting tucked in for the night.

    While bedtime itself makes a great subject, it’s still important to know that it is not the only topic worth considering.  Provided it is an interesting and calming one, it will likely work well as a subject.


  • Rhythm and reading – The way a book reads helps to set the tone for the emotions it brings to your child. If a book is properly paced, regardless of the words themselves, it can have a soothing quality. A number of very short sentences all read in succession can have a fast, playful, and exciting rhythm to it. On the other hand, when sentences are slightly longer and reflective, they have a gentler and more comforting quality.

    At the same time, this makes it important to read the book in the rhythm in which it was written. If you’re in a rush and are trying to get through the story because you’re simply not in the mood to read it, you could break up its peaceful trait.


  • Shapes, colors, and illustrations – The illustrations in a book meant for bedtime usually involve rounded shapes, muted colors, and happy, soothing imagery. It may include cooler colors such as blue, green, and purple.

    It may also specifically feature nighttime scenes or indications of routines associated with bedtimes.  This might include some backdrops of black and blue, images of stars or moons and other similar figures.

While there aren’t any specific rules that dictate whether or not a storybook will be perfect for bedtime, these can be very helpful in guiding you in the right direction.  A nice little library of bedtime books is a wonderful thing to have. It lets you choose the book depending on the length of time you have to dedicate to the story, your child’s mood, and his or her preference that evening.


The 5 Most Common Sleep Sabotaging Bedtime Mistakes You’re Likely Making

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re doing absolutely everything you can to make bedtime go smoothly and everything still seems to go wrong at the end of the day?  When you’re trying hard to be consistent about a routine, it can feel very frustrating when you face a meltdown every night and when your little one just can’t seem to settle.

In many cases, among all our great efforts and best intentions, there are little mistakes we are making that can sabotage our entire success. The following are some of the most common things we do in the hopes of making things better for our kids when we’re actually making things harder for ourselves and our children at the same time.

  1.      We’re not as consistent as we think we are – When you say you’re consistent about your child’s bedtime and waking time, the odds are that you mean only weekdays or school days. Most of us are inclined to let kids stay up later when they don’t have daycare, preschool, or school the next day. Breaking the routine on those days means we’re not actually as consistent as we tell ourselves we are. Keeping your child’s natural sleeping and waking clock set every day – not just on school nights – helps to make it easier for them to feel tired at the same time every night, awake at the same time in the morning, and less likely to struggle to get a good night of rest.


  1.      We don’t spend enough time winding down – If your child is still wakeful, simply putting him or her into bed isn’t enough to make him or her restful.  Winding down is a vital part of the bedtime routine. It should involve quiet activities in dim lighting. This helps to encourage the production of melatonin – a natural hormone responsible for the body’s sleeping and waking cycle (circadian rhythm) – and therefore restfulness at the right time. Encourage your child to start winding down about an hour before bedtime.


  1.      We consider bath time separate from the bedtime routineIMG_9401 – Baths before bed, especially when using gentle, natural products with soothing scents such as chamomile or lavender, can encourage restfulness at night. The warmth and the relaxation from the bath – as well as the regularity of it – can boost the effectiveness of a bedtime routine as a whole.


  1.      We skip story time together – Starting very young, enjoying stories from books or simply sharing stories you know is a wonderful way to wind down in bed after bath time while taking part in quality time together. Regular bedtime story time can help to build an even closer relationship between you and your little one while being soothing overall.


  1.      We make the sleeping environment too stimulating – At the same time that we want to make a child’s bedroom fun, it’s also important to remember that it is a sleeping environment. Make sure that the bedding is soft and comfortable, that your child has a toddler pillow or a youth pillow suited to his or her age and size, that the room is kept just slightly cool. Make the room quite dark, with a night light only if necessary. Make sure the night light provides the least amount of light possible to make sure that your little one can make safe trips to the bathroom in the night. Anything brighter could disturb sleep.

By correcting these little mistakes, we can encourage a much more restful night of sleep for our little ones each night. Keep them up consistently for improved restfulness over time.

8 Tips to Help Your Toddler Back to Sleep After Waking

We’ve all been through it.  You’ve put your toddler to bed.  Bedtime was soothing and calm. The little one fell asleep and appeared to be out like a light.  Then, an hour or so later, they show up looking wide awake.

When your son or daughter was just a baby, you might have responded to waking times by calming him or her back to sleep. That said, now that your child’s a toddler, it’s possible to teach your little one to use his or her own abilities to get back to sleep. It’s a process that can take time, but both you and your toddler are able to get through it successfully. No, really! All you need is a bit of planning and a lot of patience.

Use the following steps to teach your toddler to fall asleep without you after waking in the night.

  • Use a healthy bedtime routine – When your child starts winding down early and goes through the same routine at the same time every night, he or she will become more restful. The more restful your child is before actually falling asleep, the more likely he or she will be to remain sleeping through the night.
  • Choose the right bedding – Soft, comfortable bedding can make a big difference to your child’s comfort. This includes the right toddler pillow. A pillow made in the right size and with the proper amount of fill will keep your little one comfortable all night and less likely to wake up out of discomfort.
  • Leave the room before your child falls asleep – At bedtime, make a habit of being a part of the winding down routine, but leave once your little one is calm and yet still awake. This will help your child to become more accustomed to falling asleep without your presence. Do this gradually.  Start leaving when he or she is drifting off.  Then start heading away earlier and earlier.
  • Promote self-soothing – Give your child a lovey to snuggle. This can be very comforting and help your little one to feel soothed even when you’re not there.
  • Stay calm – If your child continues to get up and seek you out during the night, be very calm.  Don’t carry on a conversation and resist the urge to issue corrections or give a lesson. Instead, quietly walk your little one back to bed, tuck him or her back in and head out once more. Try to ignore whining, crying or anger.  The goal is to show that getting up in the night won’t bring any further attention.  It will only return him or her to bed again.
  • Wait before reacting – If your little one wakes during the night and calls out for you, try waiting a few minutes before reacting. Sometimes, your child is actually tired enough that after a few minutes, he or she will self-soothe and fall asleep without you.
  • Be consistent – Try to repeat the same steps every night regardless of whether it’s bedtime or you’re sending your little one back to bed after waking up and climbing out.  The more you are consistent, the more successful your efforts will be.  Breaking your strategy will only lead to setbacks.
  • Praise – Don’t forget to dole out the praise the next morning when your little one makes it through the night without getting up.  After all, it’s an achievement and it’s worth celebrating!


How Using Aromatherapy Improve Kids’ Sleep

Some kids fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Others struggle to be able to settle down and become restful. For those that don’t drop off as easily, there are many things you can do to help ease them and lull them to sleep. Lullabies, bedtime stories, and calming routines are all helpful to little ones who need to shake off all the excitement of the day.

Don’t forget that appealing to all the senses can do wonders for making kids sleepy and helping them to rest. Dimming the lights eases their eyes and encourages melatonin production. Speaking in a quiet voice is soothing and avoids exciting little ones. A soft pillowcase, fluffy pillow, and snuggly lovey are all comfortable to touch.

Just as appealing to those senses can help, so can the right aromatherapy through the sense of smell. Using bath time and skin care products with natural bedtime scents is a beautiful way to create a calming and familiar routine.

The natural – not synthetic – fragrance of lavender and chamomile, for example, are well known to be soothing and promote restfulness. In fact, they’ve been used for that purpose for hundreds of years, and their effects have been studied and documented in reputable medical research.

Selecting baby wash and a moisturizing lotion with those natural scents can make bath time and a gentle massage afterward into the perfect activity to enjoy before tucking a little one in at night.

Other areas where you can introduce calming aroma-therapeutic scents into your little one’s bedtime routine include the bedding itself. A gentle linen spray that contains lavender essential oil can help to further the effect of the scent from the bath.

The key is to use this scent properly, particularly when it comes to bedding near your child’s nose. A gentle hand will be best in starting the use of a linen spray as a highly effective bedtime helper.81vUy1MqsIL._SX522_

Start by giving the inside of the bedding a small spritz. This way, it will help your little one to become accustomed to the soft scent. Do this every night at bedtime for a week.  The next week try spritzing one side of the pillowcase and turning that side down toward the bed. That way, it’s closer to your little sleeper’s face, without being right against it.  Try that for a  week or so as well.


Over time, as your son or daughter becomes used to the scent, it will become increasingly calming and you will find yourself spritzing it over the bedding each night. This will turn the bedroom into an environment where all the senses are relaxed and readied for a restful night of sleep.

In fact, it can be so helpful that when your little one needs to travel or sleep away from home, a little spritz of that same scent can help to shake away the jitters and nerves from having to sleep in a strange place.


How to Keep Kids From Losing it Over the Holidays

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends – we’re all guilty of it. We absolutely love to give presents to kids during the holidays. Of course we do! Giving is fun and it’s heartwarming to see little ones light up when they receive something they truly adore.

Unfortunately, this glut of excitement can be overwhelming to kids and going overboard with gifts can turn little cherubs into ungrateful monsters who are never satisfied and always want more.

Does this mean that you should stop giving your kids gifts over the holidays? Of course not! However, if you want to make sure your incredible little boy or girl stays as amazing as you know they are, even at this time of year, it’s a good idea to help them to stay down to earth.

The following are some helpful strategies you can add to the holiday experience for your kids to help to make sure that gift giving remains fun, but they don’t end up with unwanted outcomes.

  •         Teach the joy of giving – The holiday season isn’t just about receiving. It’s also about giving. Give kids the chance to feel good from altruistic activities. Encourage them to be happy helpers. Teach them about the importance of sharing. Set an example by making them a part of donations and volunteer work you do and explain why it’s important. Helping those in need is, after all, the true spirit of the holiday, and the earlier a child is exposed to it, the more it will mean to them throughout their lives.


  •         Focus on esteem-building activities – Instead of focusing exclusively on the gift giving, concentrate on esteem-building activities that will help to turn the holiday season into a more complete experience. Holiday themed crafts are perfect for this, allowing kids to discover new skills, feel proud of what they’ve made and contribute to the decorating in your home. Crafts can also make wonderful gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles, letting them share in the fun of giving. We recently posted a Snow Covered Pine Cone DIY on our blog and it has been a hit!


  •         Stick to schedules – The holiday season is a special time of year but sticking to schedules such as set eating times, bedtimes, and waking times, it can make it easier for kids to cope with the excitement and remain in control of what they’re feeling.  Maintaining a bedtime routine is especially important because a good night of sleep can prevent all sorts of unpleasantness the next day. If you want to make bedtime festive, consider a holiday themed toddler pillowcase (we happen to love reindeer) and bedtime story.

By showing kids that the holiday season has a lot more to it beyond receiving gifts, it can become much more enjoyable to the entire family, while it offers the family the opportunity to create traditions you’ll always cherish.