Baby & Toddler

Pre-K

Sleepytime Stories: Books to Help Children Build a Bedtime Routine

by Jennifer Ridgway

Photo credit: Shestock, Blend Images/Getty Images

One of the most ubiquitous pieces of parenting advice I have heard and read is how important it is to establish and maintain a bedtime routine. Many experts (as well as fellow parents) recommend starting as soon as possible to help create the link between a routine and falling asleep. As with many pieces of advice, it can sometimes be easier said than done — but thankfully there are many books to help illustrate routines. Here are some stories that can help you and your child come up with a nighttime ritual that works well for your family.

  • Ages 3 - 5

  • A Recipe for Bedtime

    by Peter Bently, illustrated by Sarah Massini

    Bently puts a twist on the bedtime routine by writing a recipe for going to bed. The cute pictures from Massini show stuffed animals doing all the tasks with the child, and Bently’s rhymes are soothing. The book ends with a lullaby that could be added to your bedtime routine in lieu of traditional lullabies.

  • If I Were a Kangaroo: A Bedtime Tale

    by Mylisa Larsen, illustrated by Anna Raff

    It’s not just humans who have particular routines around sleep — here we have a book that shows different animals as their babies go to sleep. Larsen’s prose has a wonderful rhyming pattern that will capture a child’s attention, while Raff’s illustrations are filled with love between the parent and baby animals. The end of the book includes fun sleep-related facts about the various animals included in the book.

  • Even Superheroes Have to Sleep

    by Sara Crow, illustrated by Adam Record

    Highlighting both extraordinary and everyday superheroes, this book shows children that sleep is a necessity for everyone, even caped heroes, princesses, doctors, and construction workers. The last line is “Even children have to sleep” — the perfect way to sum up the book. The book also includes a sleep reward chart with stickers to help kids establish a good bedtime routine.

  • Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-Up Book

    by Leslie McGuire, illustrated by Jean Pidgeon

    One of the most important parts of the bedtime routine is brushing teeth, which can sometimes be a difficult task to convince kids to do. With illustrations of different animals brushing and flossing, plus pop-ups that make it a 3D experience, Brush Your Teeth, Please makes good oral hygiene look fun. Plus, the book is interactive: Children can get involved by “cleaning” the animals’ teeth with the attached brush.

  • Around the World in a Bathtub

    by Wade Bradford, illustrated by Micha Archer

    Whether you have a child reluctant to get IN the tub or a waterbaby who never wants to get OUT (or both, depending on the day!), you’ll find lots to love in this new book that celebrates different bathing rituals around the world. Archer’s illustrations are vibrant and emphasize the calming colors of blue and green. And as the story travels the world, from the familiar tub of the U.S. to a hammam in Turkey, readers learn how to say “yes yes” and “no no” in seven different languages (including pronunciations). The back of the book includes more information about how the different cultures bathe.

  • Monkey: Not Ready for Bedtime

    by Marc Brown

    Fans of the prolific Brown should keep their eyes peeled for this upcoming new Monkey story. Each night Monkey gets in bed and hits the same roadblock: He just isn’t ready for sleep! He goes through his bedtime routine — hopping into his PJs, brushing his teeth, getting tucked in — but still has no luck. Luckily, his older brother steps in and saves the day (or night) by helping Monkey finally feel ready for sleep.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

What books do you use to help with the bedtime routine?

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