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Do Kids Really Need Pajamas?

A little girl wearing pajamas, holding a stuffed animal, with a comforter over her head.
StoreTime Studio/Shutterstock

A child or baby wearing pajamas has to be one of the cutest things ever. However, does sleeping in pj’s versus regular clothes benefit your kids in any way? Let’s take a look!

Parents often feel exhausted at the end of the day, and the thought of wrestling a squirmy toddler out of his clothes and into a set of pj’s can easily push you over the edge. You might be a firm believer in pajamas, and that’s okay. If you’ve ever wondered if they’re that big of a deal, though, you’re not alone.

Let’s look at some pro-pajama reasoning (they’re definitely more than just a fashion statement), and why some parents are ditching them altogether.

Fire Safety

It’s recommended that children ages 9 months to 14 years wear sleepwear that protects them from fire. This means their pajamas should either be treated with chemicals to make them flame retardant, made of flame-resistant materials, or be snug-fitting. All of these help minimize the risk of catching on fire. There isn’t much concern for babies younger than 9-months-old as they aren’t left unattended much. Plus, they lack the mobility to reach out and grab a candle.

There’s been a lot of debate about the chemicals that make pajamas fire-resistant. In the past, these were much harsher, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned some of them in the ’70s. However, many people believe a lot of the flame-retardant chemicals are still not safe for human health.

If you’re worried about harsh chemicals, but still want to be cautious, consider going the “snug-fitting” route. This reduces the risk of your child brushing up against something and catching fire (and so will switching to flameless candles, if you haven’t already). There are some organic cotton options, which are soft, cozy, and warm.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

One popular reason many parents swear by pajamas is it signifies that it’s bedtime.

Like taking a bath, reading a story, or brushing teeth, changing into pj’s helps create a concrete, solid routine—and kids thrive on routines. Pajamas are a cue that playtime is officially over, and it’s time to start winding down.

Many kids—even toddlers—would feel out of sorts if their beloved jammies were taken out of the equation. Pajamas can be like a security blanket or your child’s favorite pillow—something that’s always there at night.

So, if pj’s help your kids sleep better, definitely keep them around! When they sleep well, you sleep well.

Pj’s Cost Time and Money

Now that we’ve covered the pro-pj’s side, let’s explore why some people despise them! One of the main reasons is time. All that changing out of clothes and into pajamas, only to reverse the process in the morning takes up a lot of time. Can’t everyone just sleep in their clothes (as long as they’re not covered in spaghetti sauce and cookie crumbs)? Well, yes, they can!

If you have multiple kids, how much time can you afford to spend every night doing the wrestle-into-pj’s act, anyway? It’s perfectly fine to simplify your life and let them go to bed in their regular clothes.

Then, there’s the money involved. Buying pair after pair of pajamas for children as they grow can really add up! Especially if they have a summer set, a winter set, and then, of course, there are those matching Christmas jammies the entire family has (but we don’t blame you there—those family pics will be priceless). The pajama industry works hard pushing the latest designs for kids, from Frozen, to Star Wars, to you name it—there’s a pair of pajamas for it.

Of course, it’s hard not to give in when your daughter is totally obsessed with Elsa.

To Pj or Not to Pj?

Of course, the final decision on pajamas is up to you. Fire safety is the most important consideration. If you do burn a lot of candles or have an open fireplace your kid could wander too close to, a flame-resistant set or two is probably a good idea.

If your child’s bedtime routine involves snuggly jammies, that’s also a solid reason to keep the pajama drawer well-stocked. Of course, we can’t completely discount the cute factor, either—especially those sets with the little monster feet and sparkly princess designs. The family-themed jams, you can only do for a limited amount of time, anyway, before your kids grow up and think you’re a dork.

However, if you simply want to avoid the extra hassle and let them wear their day clothes while they slumber, we get it. Some parents even dress their kids in the next day’s outfit, so they can hop right out of bed, brush their teeth, and head out the door (talk about reducing morning stress!).

If you’re worried about sending your kids to school in wrinkled clothes, don’t be! Their clothes will end up wrinkled from all the running and playing, anyway.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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