Sleep is so important to your baby and child’s development. As a mom, I want to help kids sleep better. I’m a huge proponent of doing all that you can to promote healthy sleep patterns in your kids. Teach them to sleep well and take it seriously and they’ll be happier and more ready to learn and your kids will sleep better!
Chronic lack of sleep can contribute to behavioral issues and moodiness in children. As a new mom I educated myself on how to help my kids get good sleep. And it paid off, as both are good sleepers. We have a regular bedtime and I know I’ll be off duty at bed time. Unless they’re sick or have a bad dream, they stayed in bed until morning.
I’m willing to invest in quality sleep. I couldn’t always afford much, but now that I can, I think it’s important. But no matter what your budget, you can help your kids get better sleep. From your mattress to bedding and even a sound machine or air purifier, these are the tips and products I use to help my kids get the best sleep.
1. Get a Good Mattress
After your bedtime routine and strategy, your mattress is the foundation of good sleep. Sleeping too hot, cold, or on an uncomfortable mattress affects sleep quality. Many parents go for the cheapest and I understand that. I’m not judging you. Promise. I did this too. I had the plastic-covered $35 crib mattress with my first baby.
The problem is, we think kids can sleep on anything and it’s fine. I thought that too. Except when I started reviewing mattresses and we got my friend’s son a new mattress. He was 10 years old at the time. He had a really cheap $90 mattress that his mom tried to return but was stuck with (no sleep trial). There was barely a cushion at all. It was mostly springs.
At first, we didn’t ask him how he slept, because we didn’t think he’d care that much. But when we did, he said that he slept so much better (he noticed!!!) after getting the new mattress.
Most kids sleep on a twin size mattress, but if you want to choose something that will grow with them, pick a full size. A full is right in the middle of a twin and queen size mattress. You won’t have to buy a whole new mattress and bed frame as they grow. Plus, there’s plenty of room for you to join them on the bed for bedtime stories.
Cheap Kid Mattresses
If cheap is what you’re looking for, I recommend the Linenspa hybrid mattress. The fabric isn’t great and will pill, so get a waterproof mattress protector, but it’s not bad for the price.
Another brand you probably haven’t heard of is Novilla. It’s inexpensive and works great for a kid’s bed. Read more about the Novilla mattress, here.
Another option is Amazon. The return policies may be different, but there are payment plans on Amazon so you can pay as you go. Here’s how to find Amazon mattresses with a payment plan.
Best Mattress for Kids
To me, it’s important that I get a mattress that’s not off-gassing and smells of chemicals. So I look for made in the USA foam mattresses. Overall, don’t go too soft even on kid’s mattresses. They can sink in too much and get stuck, making it harder to breathe. If you want to add softness, just get a mattress topper instead.
If you’re in the middle price range and want something softer and that isn’t a budget brand, but is decent, I recommend Bed in a Box brand. They’re one of the original mattress companies that no one has heard of. The reason I like them is they’re family owned and made in the USA.
I know there’s certifications that every mattress company says they have, but I’ve unboxed them and they smell. Those chemicals can be bothersome or they could, like in my case, cause an allergic reaction that interferes with sleep.
Another good one is Nolah (read my Nolah review to learn more). They’re also made in the USA and the foam is better quality than memory foam.
If your kid has back pain, is very active or just has health issues that necessitate a higher quality mattress (or you have the funds and want to give your kids the best), this is the mattress I recommend. It’s the mattress my daughter sleeps on.
To me, the best kid’s mattress, is a Purple mattress. They make a kid’s size mattress that has a thicker perimeter of foam around the edges and the bowl full of jelly type feel in the middle. They call it comfort grid. It’s not as thick as their other twin size mattresses at 7 inches deep. At that height, it fits better on a bunk bed too.
The kid’s Purple mattress costs less than the regular original twin size Purple mattress, which is thicker and has more of the grid.
Purple began selling the grid type material to other companies to use in their products. One use was in a hospital bed, because of its cushioning and how it doesn’t break down as easily as foam. They use this material in their seat cushions for wheelchairs and to help backs. Even though the company is only 5 years old, they’ve been selling the grid to other companies to use in their products for decades.
Best Crib Mattress
If you’re the dad or mom who is trying to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to put your baby to sleep on her back, but she flips to her stomach, this is for you. Back sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS and having a breathable mattress can help too. The Newton Baby mattress is made mostly of air. Yet it’s firm enough for babies.
The polymer inside the cover is a texture kind of like ramen noodles. Your infant can breath through all of the layers. Even the waterproof mattress protector from Newton is breathable. So if you’re watching to make sure she’s still breathing and can’t sleep well worrying about her, this mattress is incredible. I’ve tested it. It’s breathable. More than any other baby mattress I’ve tested that says it’s breathable.
I think every parent should be aware of this mattress and consider it. This mattress lasts forever and you can literally hose it off inside. So it’s very sanitary and you can feel confident that the cover isn’t going to tear and have to be thrown away after one baby. It will last through all your kids, or you can gift it to a friend when you’re finished.
2. Air Purifier/Sound Machine
Sometimes, just like us, kids can struggle to turn off their brain and fall asleep. They might be restless, excited or nervous about a big test coming up at school. What I’ve found to work best is to play music or background sound at night or during nap time for younger kids.
We have an air purifier that also has a sound machine. I set my daughter’s favorite lullaby for 30 minutes after I tuck her in. She requests it and she’s not a little kid anymore – she’s 9 years old. When she was a toddler, we one of those projectors that played music and projects stars onto the ceiling. Now, I like that the air is being cleaned as she falls asleep.
For infants, I used the baby straightjacket – aka, swaddle. The kind with velcro so they don’t wiggle out of them. They’re used to being inside the warm, protective and tight spot inside the womb. They can flail their arms and wake themselves. A swaddle ensures that they’re tucked in and feel secure. There are warmer swaddles for winter and swaddles made of lighter material for summer. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not having loose blankets, I like knowing baby will stay warm all night.
3. Electric Blanket
Being too cold can definitely affect sleep. Rather than heating the whole house and others getting too warm, we opt to just heat the bed.
My daughter has an electric blanket, and where we live, she uses it from about November to May. It has a setting so it automatically turns off after an hour. Pick a blanket that’s soft on one side. Ours is a throw blanket so you can use it in other places too, like on the couch.
It’ll be warm and comfortable, which is especially important if your child sleeps in a cooler part of the house, like the basement.
Be sure to keep a close eye out when it’s being used though, and make sure the setting is correct- you definitely want to make sure you use it safely!
4. Zipper Bedding
Yes, bedding can help your kids sleep better too. It starts with making the bed, which is challenging for most kids.
For years I fought with my kids to make their beds. It was a battle that created a constant job for us trying to police them. They hated it and so did we. Plus, it never worked consistently to just tell them to, create chore charts or whatever else we tried.
So we got zip up bedding. I love Beddy’s because it’s a sheet, blanket and comforter in one. You can pull off the whole thing and wash it. It’s a bit of a pain to put back on but it solved the problem. Instead of making the bed, you can zip it up on the sides.
Even unzipped your kid’s bed will look better than blankets and sheets going every which way. And she they’ll stay warmer (again, a way to help kids sleep better is having the right sleep temperature) because she can’t kick off the sheets and covers.
No more fighting! We’re all happier about that. And if your budget doesn’t allow there’s another option, which I cover in this zippered bedding comparison video. The other zip up bedding isn’t as good as far as quality, but it uses the same concept.
5. Use a Flatter Pillow
In general, it’s best to keep pillows and other bedding or things — like blankets, or stuffed animals — out of your child’s sleeping area until they’re 18 months old.
But once they’re ready for a pillow, kids don’t need a fluffy, taller pillow. It can hurt their neck if it’s too thick. So look for a pillow that’s only 2-3 inches tall. You can find kid sized pillows or if you have the kind where you can remove some of the inside, use an adult pillow that has some of the insides removed so it’s flatter.
These are the things that can help kids sleep better, bring more peace and better sleep to your family. What are your favorite tips for helping your kid’s sleep better? Let me know in the comments!