Prev Next
Toddler Pajamas and Zippadee Zip

The Toddler Pajama Game

By Amalah

Hello Wonderful Amy!

So, my son (22 months, though I need to get over myself and just start saying almost two) usually sleeps in a Zippadee Zip. He loves it, always has. In the summer, he wears a onesie or short-sleeve/shorts romper type thing under the Zippy. In the winter, he wears long-sleeve, footed jammies under it. We live in Texas, so very hot summers and mild winters. We keep the house at 70 overnight during the summer and 66 during winter (though we used to keep it much colder pre-child and I’m looking forward to the day when we can again).

All of this background to say that a few nights ago, my son flat-out refused to wear his Zippy. He wanted to go down with a blanket, like he does for naps at daycare. He refused to wear socks as well (he spent forever trying to get them off). To say the night went poorly is an understatement. He woke up (I’m assuming because he was cold, though he’s not old enough to actually articulate what’s going on) and tossed and turned, wide awake, for literally hours. I’m thanking my lucky stars that he changed his mind the next night and happily accepted his Zippy.

But it’s got me thinking:

  • What do toddlers wear to bed when they don’t quite understand the whole sleeping-under-blankets thing? (He still moves a ton in his sleep, flipping from one end of his crib to the next.)
  • Do they wear footed jammies year-round? Should I keep the house warmer?
  • Is there anything I should do to encourage sleeping under the blanket or do they really just sort of figure it out for themselves?

Thank you! It seems like such a basic transition, but I’m stumped.

It really depends on the toddler! Let us never forget about the twin toddlers who would remove pajamas and diapers every night in order to fling poo at each other. That a toddler you don’t dress for the climate; you dress them for WARFARE.

When mine were toddlers, they all really “hot” sleepers who would get super sweaty at night no matter what time of year (we’re in Maryland, so very hot summers AND very cold winters) (WHY DO WE LIVE HERE) or what they wore. So I usually did footed cotton or fleece jammies in the winter and short-sleeved shirts and PJ shorts in the summer. They’d start out under a blanket and usually wake up without it. I never really “taught” them to stay under the blanket, other than re-tucking them under it during any night wakings. (I’d also usually do a check on them right before I went to bed, and would re-cover them if needed, or put their pulled-off socks back on.)

It’s possible that it wasn’t the cold that woke your son up, but just the unfamiliar sensation of having his legs free of the Zippy. Sort of like a transition out of the swaddle. So if he hasn’t rebelled against it again since that one night, I’d just continue to use it while his size allows you to, but continue to offer a regular blanket as well and start the tucking-in ritual every night. Once he’s too big for the Zippy, go with light cotton footies on warmer nights, fleece for colder. If he’s prone to cold feet, put socks on underneath. My kids would STILL wear footies if I could consistently find them in their sizes. They’re cozy! My oldest sleeps under a fleece weighted blanket, though, so I discourage him from bundling up at night. (He’s 13 and the night sweating is Still A Thing, but way more smelly.)

Your son will probably get it eventually and enjoy the feeling of being under the covers — though it might not fully “click” until he’s transitioned to an actual bed. And that’s fine! There’s absolutely no medal or milestone for reaching the  “Does Not Kick Blanket Off Then Sob About Loss Of Said Blanket” stage of childhood.

 

*********

Photo source: Depositphotos/margostock

Dear readers, you can leave a comment without having to register. Just sign in as a “guest.” We love and appreciate your insights!

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Penny
Guest
Penny

My three kids worked out the blanket thing in their own time and it was easier once they transitioned to a bed. We always used the light cotton footed pajamas for our hot summer sleepers (upstate NY). Children’s Place was my favorite place to get them because they were stretchy!!

Ros
Guest
Ros

In terms of basic practical suggestions: heavier blankets stay on better (once we’re past the SIDS risk, obv), and thick blankets can be pulled back on by little arms without needing an adult to spread them out first. Duvets win, is what I’m saying. My son is the same age as the kid in this post, and sleeps under a blanket. Lightweight blankets just WILL NOT stay on. He sleeps under a throw-sized duvet, which is light enough to minimize sweating but thick enough to mostly stay put, and he can tug it back on when it falls off. He… Read more »

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

Here in New England, in our very old and poorly heated house, my kids (6 and 8) are going to bed in just their underwear, because kids are weird. I’m freezing just thinking about it, but no one has gotten hypothermia or frostbite overnight, so I’m rolling with it. All that is to say that you can focus on finding whatever combination works in terms of letting him sleep, without worrying too much about him being cold. Many kids have crazy fast metabolisms, so if you find that he’s sleeping through the night in cotton PJs, you don’t need to… Read more »

Myriam
Guest
Myriam

I’d have to agree with you. I’m in Montreal, and my youngest sleeps in a diaper, no cover most of the time. If they do happen to stay on, she’ll be super hot to the touch! I think we project our preferences on our children, and assume they must be cold. But if they are ok, why fight it.The OP assumed her son was cold, but the Zippy is as much about “snugness” as it is about warmth. In addition, whatever mood he was in to refuse the socks and zippy might have played a role in his restless night…… Read more »

HollyH
Guest
HollyH

My daughter is a little bit older (27 months) and we have struggled with this for a while now (she has always been big for her age). We live in FL and keep the house pretty cool at night year round. We do light weight cotton separates when it is warmer and fleece footie pajamas in the winter. Before we moved her to a regular bed we had two or three of those small fleece throw blankets that we would hang on the sides of her crib and she would make herself a little nest with them. We would cover… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

Both of my kids eventually figured out how to sleep under blankets, but it took a surprisingly long time. Rather than heating the whole house we just got a space heater for her room. We went with a model that is safe to run overnight and had a built in timer with it. It was an oil-filled radiant space heater so it didn’t get super hot to the touch ever.

Emily
Guest
Emily

My son is a bit over 1 (upstate NY) and we do fleece footie PJs in the winter and just a onesie in the summer. He’s only very recently started getting put down with a blanket, but never keeps in on and often ends up op top of it. He doesn’t seem to mind.
To agree with someone else – at some point it won’t matter because they’ll have stubborn opinions. My 4.5 yr old wears PJs some nights, and some nights nothing but underwear, blanket on/blanket off… Its not worth the argument since she sleeps through the night either way.

cybrbanana
Guest

We use footed sleep sacks for toddlers – They are a wearable, zip up fleece blankets with cuffs for their feet to come through. They provide a second layer for whatever they are wearing underneath that can’t be shrugged off like a blanket.