I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


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Children's Books That Help Kids Sleep

From the first day at a new daycare to the first night in a new bedroom, early childhood is full of new (read: scary) experiences. Local bookstores and libraries have come to my family’s rescue on many such occasions. We’ve used books to prep our kids for nearly every big event: first airplane ride, first visit to the dentist, first day of school. For some reason, learning about a new experience in the context of something familiar and comforting—being read to by a parent—calms kids down and makes “firsts” less frightening.

The same principle applies to sleep. Sharing stories about common sleep challenges helps kids feel less alone, transforming prickly problems into fun experiences in family problem-solving. As an added bonus, many children’s books offer creative solutions for common sleep challenges, from helping kids stay in bed all night long to conquering nighttime fears.

So if your kiddos have sleep woes, why not take a literary approach? Here are five books that can help you tackle tough sleep challenges while sneaking in a little extra reading time with kids—a double-win for the whole family.

For bad bedtimes, try:

The Sleep Fairy by Janie Peterson

The Tooth Fairy may be magical, but she can’t help kids stay in bed at night. Enter The Sleep Fairy, a book by child development specialist Janie Peterson. In this award-winning book, the whimsical storyline taps into kids’ magical inner world with a charming story of a Sleep Fairy who visits and bestows treats on sleeping children.



To help kids sleep in their own bed, try:

Mommy, I Want to Sleep In Your Bed! By Harriet Ziefert

Many young kids will relate to the title of this book. The story of a puppy family coaxing a young son to stay in his own bed all night is illustrated with bright mixed-media images depicting the setting sun and snoozing animals. It’s no longer in print, but you can find it at libraries or buy an affordable used copy.




For nighttime fears, try:

I Sleep In My Own Bed by Glenn Wright

Sometimes kids resist sleeping in their bedrooms because of nighttime fears—monsters, spiders, or the ubiquitous boogeyman. This book takes kids on a journey of all the places they wouldn’t sleep, and wraps up by showing them that their own bed is indeed the perfect place to curl up and drift off.




When moving to a toddler bed, try:

Big Enough for a Bed by Apple Jordan

Even the youngest of toddlers recognizes Elmo—mine did, long before they saw him on TV. It must be in kids’ DNA. This cute book helps kids with the transition from a crib to a big-kid-bed with familiar characters, colorful pictures, and a sweetly simple storyline.




For bedwetting, try:

Sammy the Elephant & Mr. Camel: A Story to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting by Joyce C. Mills and Richard J. Crowley

In this inspiring story, Sammy the Elephant struggles to carry buckets of water. His friend Mr. Camel offers him sage encouragement and advice, and Sammy learns to trust in himself and his ability. He’s put to the test when his town catches fire, and he learns that he has the skills he needs.  Along with an appealing story and illustrations, this expertly-written book also includes practical advice for parents.


There are plenty of other great sleeptime-books out there. What are some of your family’s favorites?

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for the recommendations and I particularly like the second and the third ones. I have been persuading my 3.5 year old son to sleep in his own bed for about a year and it still does not work so well. As he can speak more now, he always comes up with different excuses to stay on my bed. Even sometimes he is willing to sleep in his bed, he easily wakes up and cries and will need me to go to his bed to sleep with him. I hope these two books would help to relieve his fears in some sense.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine Law

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