Family Obsessions

Getting our Preschooler to sleep with Sleeper Hero

We don’t sleep.  At all.  Haven’t in approximately 4 years.  We tried and failed at ‘sleep training’ multiple times.  We finally got our first-born sleeping alone in his bed right before the new baby arrived…and then it all went to crap.

Our sleep routine is a mixture of chaos and frustration all wrapped up in a lot of tears (mostly from me…)

After nearly 10 months of all four of us tossing and turning in bed dodging spit-up and swift kicks to the head, I decided we needed to at least TRY to do something.  We had tried one of the sleep timer clocks and that resulted in our son yelling from his bed that it was not morning time yet at the top of his lungs.  So we unplugged and “lost” that, because I’d rather have silent elbows poking me in the kidney than 4 am screaming bouts.

I started researching what, if anything, else was out there and I stumbled upon Sleeper Hero.  Considering our son spends every day at preschool dressed in a cape running around playing “save the day,” I figured maybe a super hero inspired sleep aid might carry some weight.

Sleeper Hero is a superhero that has a sleep timer and a corresponding book.  Inspired by sleepless parents, the Sleeper Hero book tells the story of Luke, a 4-year-old boy who is afraid to go to sleep…that is until he gets his SleeperHero doll.  The SleeperHero is a special doll that protects him while he sleeps from all his bad dreams AND has a sleep timer button on his chest that lets him know when it’s time to go to bed and wake up.

Before I gave the SleeperHero to Avery, I went ahead and set the timer.  It was incredibly easy to set, and I love that all he has to do is push a button to see if the light is red (“stay in bed”) or green (“rise and shine”).  It comes in a really nice box containing the super hero doll and the book.  I gave it to A after school and he immediately wanted to read the book.  We read it at least 10 times before bed.

I wasn’t expecting miracles…and miracles definitely didn’t happen…but baby steps did.

The first night we had a victory over the initial, “no, it’s not bedtime” fight.  For some reason when we say it’s bedtime, it carries no authority with our son, but if he pushes a button on a doll’s chest and it glows red, he willingly concedes that it is in fact the end of the day.  While he still took about an hour and a half to calmly stay in his room with out one of us by his side, he didn’t scream and yell and fight the idea of bedtime.

Over the next week we read the SleeperHero book A LOT.  It allowed us to introduce the topic of scary dreams and talk about them during the day.  We talked about how they aren’t real, and that they can’t hurt him.  We also talked about thinking about happy things he loved like playing baseball while he’s lying in bed so he has sweet happy dreams.  After about a week and a half he was consistently agreeing to go to bed, and allowing us to leave his room much easier.

He still however ended up in our room sometime between 2-4 am every night.  Then magically the past two nights he stayed in bed until 6 am.  I will be honest, I’m not sure what changed.  I’m also not holding my breath that this is a permanent change.  But I will say that tonight when he asked me if I could give him a superhero mask to ‘fight the bad guys in his sleep’, I figured eh, why not? So I grabbed a WASHABLE marker, invited him to the kitchen and drew on his own super hero mask for the night.  He was so happy, and even excited to go to bed.

Tonight was affirmation that even if the SleeperHero didn’t magically turn him into a rock solid sleeper, it did open up conversation about his bedtime fears and inspire him to find his inner super hero to be able to go to bed with confidence.  And that is priceless!

Sleep (for us at least) is a constant struggle – and to be honest possibly a hereditary uphill battle as neither of us are great sleepers to begin with.  So anything that remotely helps make the process a little less challenging is a win in my book!


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