Got a sleep-resistant child? Maybe it’s time for your little night owl to hit the books. Why not use a nightly bedtime story to help build and reinforce healthy sleep habits, overcome common sleep saboteurs and boost parent-child bonding? Whether you add these titles to your child’s bookshelf or wrap them up for a parent-to-be, you’ll be giving the gift of blissful rest.
1. One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You off to Sleep
By Kenn Nesbitt and illustrated by Christoph Niemann
Sleep-supporting bedtime stories don’t have to be lengthy. “One Minute till Bedtime,” a collection of poems edited by former Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt, offers bite-size bedtime reading that helps send children to sleep while building an enduring love of poetry. Parents and children will love the illustrations by New York Times illustrator and award-winning artist Christoph Niemann.
2. Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story
By Mariam Gates and illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
Yoga is proven to quiet the mind, calm the body and promote sounder sleep. For a sweet sendoff to sleep, add these kid-friendly yoga poses to your family’s nighttime routine. You don’t need supreme flexibility or any special equipment to practice simple yoga postures. From “Sun Breath” to “Cloud Gathering” to “Ladybug & Butterfly,” they relax restless kids and help them wind down.
3. Sweet Dreams, Lima Beans (The Secret Life of Beans)
By Laura E. Pasternak
Originally created to help her own children cope with sleeping in two different households, this sweet picture book helps children separated from a loved one at bedtime. Whether children are missing a deployed parent or dealing with divorce, separation or another loss, “Sweet Dreams, Lima Beans” helps reduce separation anxiety so they feel safe and loved at bedtime.
4. Mindful Moments at Bedtime
By Paloma Rossa and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
A simple mindfulness practice can help calm anxiety that often accompanies bedtime for sleep-resistant children. This peaceful picture book walks parents and children through 12 Mindful Moments to share before bed, creating a loving, calming bedtime routine that promotes sounder sleep.
5. Sleep Time is Awesome Time
By Charles C. Martin
Kids who struggle with sleep may develop negative thoughts and feelings around bedtime that can reinforce insomnia, bedtime resistance and nighttime awakenings. This book helps to interrupt that cycle by reframing negative sleep associations, reducing anxiety and building healthy habits to help children fall asleep peacefully.
6. Bear Can’t Sleep (The Bear Books)
By Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
Winter is the perfect season for this tale of a bear who can’t hibernate. Will Bear learn to fall asleep with the help of his forest friends? This sweet board book can help reinforce the importance of rest and gets families ready for a cozy night’s sleep.
7. Sweet Dreams Moonbeams
By Sara Conway and illustrated by Kelly Breemer
This lovely, whimsical story of a fox family and other forest creatures preparing for sleep makes an excellent baby-shower gift. Stunning illustrations and holographic foil will hold little ones’ interest as they learn to associate bedtime with harmony, peace and love.