Stuffed animals and "loveys" sure have come a long way since I was a kid, though I still remember fondly my favorite Miss Piggy stuffy that I took with me everywhere I went. I bet you remember your favorites too. Stuffed animals do more than just look cute in a nursery; they provide safety and support during the most crucial times of childhood. That's why I am absolutely in love with Slumberkins, cuddly creatures that teach social-emotional life skills to your little ones and provide you with all the tools you need to support them along the way.
This genius company was founded by best friends Kelly Oriard and Callie Christensen, who, though they call themselves "accidental entrepreneurs," have plenty of expertise on the topic of child development. Kelly holds dual Masters degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy and School Counseling, while Callie earned a Master in Teaching and endorsements in Elementary Education and Special Education. #bossbabes. With six children between them, it's no surprise that many of the creatures they designed were inspired by their own children, or their own experiences as little ones, as the pair explained on the Slumberkins website.
So just what are these little creatures all about? I took a deep dive into this adorable world of sloths, alpacas, narwhals and more, and it left me wishing for one of my own... I mean, for my kids.
Complete with a cuddly alpaca and accompanying board book, the Stress Relief Bundle helps you create a reading (and snuggling) routine with your little one that will help them learn the oh-so-valuable life skills of stress relief and anxiety management. As the website states, “Alpaca is a friend who can help carry the weight of worries, both big and small, even if only for a short while.” Yes, please.
The Slumberkins routine involves three parts: Interact, Connect, and Reflect. It sounds easy enough, but as any busy parent knows, it can be challenging to know how to accomplish those things with the sometimes limited amount of time we have with our kiddos each day. That's why Slumberkins is so brilliant: They've done the work on figuring out the routine for you, and now you (and your littles) get to reap the rewards. The basic rundown is as follows...
Step one: Interact. As the website explains, "attachment bonds are built through physical touch, eye contact, and playful interactions." So before you can do anything else, you have to stop what you're doing, put your phone down, and snuggle up with your little one.
Step two: Connect. Each of the board books contains positive affirmations pertaining to different life skills. Read these affirmations to help solidify your child's learning (no matter how young they are); and if they're able, have your child repeat the line after you.
Step three: Reflect. Here's where you'll really see Slumberkins pay off. By practicing the concepts, positive skills, and learning from the Slumberkins' books in your everyday life, you will have the language your kids can understand to navigate their life experiences in a positive, supportive way.
From their Family Bonding Collection, Hartley the Sloth helps to show that “families are connected by the love they feel in their hearts.” Great for families where a parent or caregiver travels frequently, Hartley comes with a keepsake affirmation card that reminds kids “no matter how far apart, you are always held in their heart.”
It's no secret that parenting can be overwhelming. Everywhere you turn there seems to be a new challenge you weren't prepared for, and a ton of different "expert opinions" on how to navigate it. You may not always have the answers, but with the help of a Slumberkins, you and your little ones might just be better equipped to navigate all of your "big feelings" together.
And, if you want another reason to get excited about these little bundles of joy, I have it on good authority that The Jim Henson company is developing a Slumberkins TV show (according to a press release). I, for one, will definitely be tuning in for that!