10 Best Books to Help Your Child Fall Asleep (You Can Thank Us Later)
Books go with bedtime like peanut butter goes with jelly, but not all books are suitable bedtime reads. Looking for a few stories that will settle down your active toddler? These 10 titles are like literary lullabies.
Children need calming reads before they turn out the lights, according to Rebecca Bevans, PhD, psychology professor at Southern New Hampshire University. She suggests avoiding action and adventure and going for something a little more soothing to avoid activating your child’s imagination or stirring up feelings of anxiousness. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, is a read so classic that many of us have fond memories of listening to our parents read it as we drifted off to sleep. Published in 1947, this short book is the perfect sleepy time read because it features a little bunny telling everything around him ‘goodnight’ before heading off to bed.
My First Little House Books
This series of picture books was adapted from the Little House on the Prairie series by beloved author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each book features pictures inspired by the illustrations of Garth Williams, who is responsible for the art in the original series. If you’re not sure where to start, consider Winter Days in the Big Woods. In this short read, Laura helps her Ma and Pa prepare their home for the winter, helping in the garden and storing up food for long winter days.
The Going to Bed Book
No toddler’s library is complete without a few Sandra Boyton books. Although many of her books were published in the 1980s, they have quickly become classics in the world of children’s literature. In The Going to Bed Book, Boyton’s iconic characters get ready for bed on their little boat. They get dressed in their pajamas, the brush their teeth, and they even engage in some pre-bedtime exercise. In the end, they rock peacefully to sleep on their tugboat.
I Love You Stinky Face
Finding a few books that are special to your family, so you can return them again and again, is great way to connect with children and encourage brain development from a young age. This is an important habit, since parents who want to promote literacy and language development should be reading to their kids from birth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. I Love You Stinky Face is one of those books you’ll keep coming back to. In this popular bedtime read by Lisa McCourt and Syd Moore, the little boy in the book is putting off bedtime for as long as possible by asking his mom if she would still love him he were different creatures instead of a little boy.
Guess How Much I Love You
The best bedtime books help your child settle down at the end of a busy day instead of gearing them up for more play. This is why books where the characters are heading to bed themselves are perfect bedtime reads. In Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, Little Nutbrown Hare is heading to bed, but not before proposing a little competition with Big Nutbrown Hare over who loves who more. Of course, the parent rabbit is always able to better express his love for the little rabbit and by the end of the book, Little Nutbrown Hare is fast asleep.
Sometimes getting a little one to bed feels an awful lot like herding wild animals. Parents of rambunctious little ones will love Goodnight, Gorilla and the zookeeper whose bedtime tasks are a little more challenging than getting a toddler to sleep. In this fun picture book, the zookeeper is trying to settle all of the zoo animals in for the night, but has a mischievous tag-along gorilla who keeps letting the other animals out their cages.
A Book of Sleep
All of the little animals in this board book settle in for sleep, except for the watchful owl! In A Book of Sleep by II Sung Na, you can join the watchful owl as he watches the other animals fall asleep and talk with your child about the different sleep habits of each animal in the book. By the end of the book, hopefully your child will be ready to settle into their own bed for the night.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
If you have a little one who love to bulldoze, dig, and dump during the day, this is a great read for ending their busy day. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichenheld, will be a fast-favorite for your littlest builder. Each truck on the construction site finsihes up its work for the day before settling in for rest.
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep
This bestselling book caused a lot of fuss when it claimed to be the answer to bedtime woes experienced by so many parents. According to the author, Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrilin, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep was written using proven methods for settling any child down for the night. Just like a lot of young kids, the little rabbit in this book has a hard time drifting off so his mom takes him on a journey to help. If you’re struggle with bedtime, give this one a try and see if it lives up to the hype.
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book
Written in the fun and funny rhyming patterns we’ve all come to know and love as Dr. Seuss’s signature style, the Sleep Book follows the chain reaction started by Van Vleck and his very contagious little yawn. By the end of this read, everyone who encounters the very contagious yawn is ready to go to sleep—and hopefully your little reader will be, too!