So often in the military lifestyle, unpredictability is commonplace. This is especially true with nighttime routines! Uncertainty at bedtime causes stress on one of the most valuable groups in our community—our MilKids.
Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that over half of MilFams said their child experienced separation anxiety, worry, and/or sleep problems as a result of a deployment. One-third of MilFams said their child had experienced sleep issues as a result of a parent’s deployment. If many MilFams—more than a third—report not getting the quality sleep they need to function effectively, what can be done?
We create routines. Take it from Lindsay Swoboda, a Marine military spouse and creator of the Uplifting Anchor blog. Her routine adjusts as Lindsay’s daughter gets older, but the consistent pattern of bathtime, brushing teeth, and storytime helps her child get quality sleep. “My husband initiates all of this while he is home. They have special chapter books they work on together—recently they have rediscovered a love for the Boxcar Children,” Lindsay said. “When my spouse was deployed, I would read her a special book, and we would blow a star to daddy every night.” These simple nightly rituals help bring sweet dreams to Swoboda’s daughter.
Nightly routines are a reality all caregivers face. When a parent is called away for duty, children look for comfort in a good night’s rest. Lindsay’s daughter is a great example. “She’s always had her bed-buddy stuffed animal, a special blanket she loves, and we do the same routine,” Lindsay said.
Kids sleep better, and parents feel supported. The result? The military family unit thrives. For that reason, and because Blue Star Families wants to focus on MilKids during Month of the Military Child, we’re giving away 100 Sleep Well Kits, courtesy of Sleep Number—our awesome Blue Star Neighbor.
From April 1 to April 30, nominate your MilKid to win one of 100 Sleep Well Kits as part of the “Sleep Well, MilKid” Sweepstakes by visiting https://bluestarfam.org/sleepnumber/. Winners will receive a Sleep Number kids pillow, twin protection pad, twin sheets, twin blanket, ZZZ Bear bundle, Sesame Street military kid transition activity book, and a lifetime subscription to the Caribu reading app—valued at $650!
While we know these Sleep Kits don’t fix the problem that MilKids face, they do bring comfort amidst the chaos.