pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

Bedtime Stories

We’ve had plenty of previous posts about reading to children and its benefits. We haven’t however specifically mentioned the benefits of this parenting practice at bedtime – until a few days ago.
Bedtime stories – the single best way to improve sleep quality
That got me to thinking: perhaps you’d like to have a few references to tried and true books that do NOT heighten anxiety or stress, which you can read as your little ones lie quietly in their nightclothes awaiting the sandman to make his rounds.

Bedtime Stories for Children

The books and stories below aren’t listed in any particular order but all are those designed to be read by parents to children. Some are more specific about sleep than others, but all provide a non-threatening atmosphere conducive to peaceful sleep.

Stories About Sleep

The Going-To-Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton. This is a cute board book with silly characters who go through their bedtime routine. Toddlers can easily relate to the story.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Boys will enjoy listening to this story about a collection of trucks, tractors and work vehicles going to bed at a construction project.

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown & illustrated by Clement Hurd. This book is an asset for toddlers who are learning language as it helps identify common items found in a house.

My Dad Is Big And Strong, BUT…: A Bedtime Story, by Coralie Saudo and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. A funny book, especially for younger children who might have… let’s say… reluctant bedtime habits. Using reverse psychology, the story shows, from a child’s point of view, just how tiring it can be when they have a father who doesn’t want to go to bed.

Quiet Stories

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, by Mac Barnett. Mr Barnett says he lies to children for a living … he writes children’s books. He calls them “honest lies” – I call them: “masterful stories.” I don’t know the guy personally, but I’d like to sit with him over a soda sometime and try to figure out if it’s possible to get some of what he has. “A blue whale is longer than thirty dogs lined up nose to tail,” he writes. “Its tongue weighs as much as four hundred cats. Blue whales make terrible pets….Just ask Billy Twitters.”

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams. A treasured storybook for generations, here is a timeless tale about the magic of boundless love told in the setting of a young boy and a cherished toy rabbit who grow older together.

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books), by Crockett Johnson. One night, Harold is supposed to be sleeping… and instead goes on an adventure with his purple crayon.

Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. This is a story that can be (and probably will be) read anytime, not just before bed.

Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney. Do you ever tell your child I love you “this much” with your arms measuring farther and farther out? If so, you’ll love this story about a bunny family and how their love reaches the moon.

Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You, by Nancy Tillman. The art work in this book is just stunning! The words and images express how love will follow the reader, even if they go to the highest mountain, the most remote ocean, ride with the wildest animals and several other adventures.

Drummer Hoff, adapted by Barbara Emberly. This book is based on a folk tale about a variety of characters who work together to fire a cannon – the illustrations and rhymes are darling. A classic that may become one of your favorite books to read to the kids.

Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag. Do your children love animals, do you want to help instill a love of life and animals in your kids? This is a cute story about a couple who go to find a cat for a pet… and come home with “millions” of cats.

The Real Story of Stone Soup, by Ying Chang Compestine. This “Stone Soup” book is based on the Chinese version of the fable. It will hold older kids attention – the pictures and the words tell two conflicting stories – as a man, the narrator, is taking credit for the work the boys are doing making “stone soup”.

What Are Your Favorite Bedtime Stories

What bedtime stories have you found useful in reducing stress and introducing a calm atmosphere while getting ready for bed? Comments will be turned on for this post if you’d like to share.

We’ll probably re-visit this post from time to time with updates to the list. Remember, for this post we’ll only be interested in stories that parents can use to help control the atmosphere surrounding sleep when they are experiencing difficulties with a child’s sleep.

I’m dreadfully sorry about this; BUT, as you will see when it’s turned on, writing a comment requires that a reader be registered on the site and 30 minutes after I turned on the function I had over 200 new registrants – all of which turned out to be computer robots wanting to attack the site! This actual post hadn’t even gone live so there wasn’t even any published link to registration. I’m not sure why people would want to do that to this site but until I figure out a way to prevent such behavior comments can’t be turned on. You can always use the “contact” form to tell me about your favorite bedtime story book.
I fully intend to make commenting on this page available because I think it’s a worthwhile aspect to this post, besides others seem to have figured it out. As soon as I do – well, you won’t be reading this and even know there was an issue.

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