“The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep,” a storybook who’s author promises it can make anyone fall asleep, is all the rage and an Amazon top seller. Since the book is based on the psychology behind sleep, and I have a toddler, I was curious about the author’s approach and the intended results.
The children’s book was written by Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin and tells the tale of Roger the Rabbit, Sleepy Snail and Uncle Yawn on their quest to help the rabbit go to sleep. While reading a child bedtime stories is an age-old tradition, this particular storybook takes that practice one step further. Similar to bibliotherapy and social stories used in cognitive behavioral therapy and social skills development, the author uses the relationship of the child to the character in this story to encourage a desired behavior — sleep.
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep
Roger’s mother and those reading this book to their children guide their little ones along the path to sleep with imagery, positive reinforcement techniques and suggestive language, complete with cleverly placed yawns. As we know, yawning is contagious for most people. The author has done a great job of allowing the reader to customize the book by mentioning the child’s name at different points in the story so the child feels a connection to the tale. As for the psychological effects, you are in essence passing along a subliminal message while you are reading to your child.
The book’s language is sophisticated and most appropriate for children over the age of two who have good language skills. The illustrations are simple, yet charming, with friendly expressions and soft coloring. The book has excellent potential to be a favorite for many youngsters who require guided relaxation and time to prepare themselves for sleep.
The Benefits of Reading to a Child
“The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” and other bedtime stories can be a wonderful part of a bedtime routine. In addition to quieting a child and helping them get in a sleepy state, there are several other benefits to reading to children. There is a direct correlation between reading to a child and the positive development of language skills; the activity builds healthy reading habits and a love of reading; and it provides an opportunity for parent-child bonding.
However, it’s important that you are not reading a book to a child who is overtired — we want to avoid bedtime routines and bedtime stories that are well intended, but actually keep little ones awake past an appropriate bedtime. In fact, if children are overtired, they will not be able to reap the benefits of a bedtime story so, in that case, it is best to skip the bedtime story.
Guidelines for Bedtime Stories
The entire bedtime routine should last around 45 minutes. Consider structuring the time so that it does not become problematic. Structure can be provided by picking bedtime stories and books earlier in the day. Limit both the number of books and the amount of time spent reading. Books should be read in a low lit room. Our biological clocks are set by the sun and the moon. As the sun goes down, the melatonin in our bodies begins to increase, which gets us prepared for sleep. If you are in a highly lit room and you are trying to fall asleep, you will have a hard time because it will take the melatonin in your body quite a while to get to the level you need to get sleepy.
Some of my favorite storybooks for babies and toddlers are:
- “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
- “The Going To Bed Book” by Sandra Boynton
- “Goodnight, Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann
- “Time For Bed” by Mem Fox
- “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney
- “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
- Another fun idea is to make up your own bedtime story starring your little one
Whether you choose “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep,” another favorite or to become a storyteller yourself, reading to your child is precious time well spent. Please let us know if you’ve read “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” to your child, and how it worked!