The Best Bedtime Toys for Kids

Bedtime can be one of the most challenging times for parents of young children. Kids often resist going to sleep, wanting to play more or get just “one more story”. Finding the right bedtime routine – including the perfect calming, sleep-inducing toys – can make all the difference. We asked 3 mothers to share their experiences and recommendations for bedtime toys that work.

Christine’s Bedtime Toy Tips for Her 4 Year Old

Christine has a 4 year old son named Ryan who has always been full of energy and resists bedtime. She has found a few key toys and items that help get Ryan into a relaxed, sleepy state before bed. Her number one recommendation is a stuffed animal or special “lovie” that can comfort Ryan while falling asleep. She makes sure to have multiple copies of his favorite stuffed dog in case one gets lost. Having identical lovies allows her to easily replace the original.

In addition to stuffed animals, Christine has had success with bedtime storybooks. She says, “Reading calming stories together helps create a nice routine and gets his mind ready for sleep.” Simple, short story books work best for her active son. She suggests avoiding books that are overly stimulating right before bed. Picking stories with lullaby-like rhyming such as Goodnight Moon resonate well with her preschooler.

For kids who like music, Christine recommends a high quality Bluetooth speaker to play soft lullabies and white noise. “Having his favorite music play quietly helps block out house noises that may distract him from sleeping.”

Emily’s Bedtime Favorites for Her Toddler Twins

Emily is mom to 2 year old twins, a boy named Michael and a girl named Lily. What works to get one twin relaxed and sleepy does not necessarily work for the other. Emily suggests having multiple options on hand to troubleshoot based on your child’s mood.

She says Michael loves listening to lullabies and nature sounds before bed. Playing ocean wave sounds or classical lullabies from a smartphone helps him unwind. But for Lily, music can sometimes overstimulate her. Instead, Lily prefers snuggling with her favorite blanket and stuffed unicorn for comfort. Having the sameblanket easily accessible in her crib helps Lily feel secure.

Both of Emily’s twins enjoy looking through sturdy board books with photos of baby animals together before bed. The low light from a dim reading lamp sets a relaxed mood, so bright overhead lights can be avoided.

Emily also underscores the importance of consistency. “Sticking to the same sequence of quiet activities like looking at books, listening to music, or singing songs signals to them that bedtime is near.” Kids thrive on routines, so keeping bedtime consistent has really helped her twins relax.

Jennifer’s Bedtime Routine with Her 8 Year Old Daughter

Jennifer has an 8 year old daughter named Zoe who likes her independence at bedtime. They have created a routine that allows Zoe to direct her own process to unwind while still spending quality time together.

Jennifer and Zoe begin getting ready for bed by discussing her day, including the highs and lows. This helps Zoe express anything on her mind and feel heard. When Zoe seems relaxed, Jennifer asks if she wants a short back rub. Jennifer says this physical affection helps create a nurturing transition into sleep.

Next, Zoe likes journaling or drawing quietly by herself. Jennifer provides an empty notebook and markers to encourage this independent play. Zoe will casually sketch pictures or write down thoughts from her day. Allowing Zoe to choose her own activity prevents power struggles.

The final step is Zoe snuggling into bed with her favorite stuffed animals while Jennifer reads aloud. Jennifer says letting Zoe arrange her stuffed animals around her provides a sense of control. Reading together gives them bonding time before saying goodnight. This routine took time to establish, but now Zoe looks forward to each component.

Bedtime struggles can intensify when kids are overtired – so setting an appropriate bedtime is key. While occasional deviations from routine are OK, consistency is best. Remaining patient, supportive, and responsive to your child’s needs can help uncover the right bedtime formula. Revisiting what works as your child grows can ensure healthy, peaceful sleep for the whole family.