In my house, we’re big fans of books. But we’re not always the biggest fans of going to bed at night.
My kids routinely grump every time we utter the words, “Time to get ready for bed.” It’s especially bad lately because it’s still light out when we’re heading to bed.
This distaste for bedtime seems to get worse the older they get, too. When they were babies and tiny toddlers, it’s like their evening cries were really pleas of “for the love of all that is good and holy, please put me to bed.”
One thing I can count on, though, is our bedtime books. We’ll read two or three, and my kids will definitely shift into bedtime mode. If bedtime is rough in your house, give these books a try.
1. “The Night Knights” by Gideon Sterer. The book is the story of a secret group of armored knights who come out only at night to protect your child’s bedroom and home from any unseen scary things in the dark they might be worried about. My favorite part of this book is the illustrations. The story is amazing, but the pictures are gorgeous and extremely comforting.
2. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Max is wild, and he gets sent to his room without supper for all his shenanigans.
3. “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney. This sweet story is about Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare comparing how much they love each other as they prepare for bedtime. Big Nutbrown Hare gets the last word as Little Nutbrown Hare falls asleep.
4. “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney. Parents will definitely be able to relate to this one (and kids will, too). The story is about Little Llama after his mama tucks him into bed. Eventually he calls down to his Llama Mama, who says she’ll be up soon. Of course, Little Llama goes through waiting, becoming impatient and finally being scared something happened to his mama. We love this book, and it’s still a favorite today.
5. “Bedtime for Batman” by Michael Dahl. The book tells two stories side by side. One is about a little boy getting ready for bed and the other is about Batman getting ready to save the city from bad guys. Each thing the boy does mirrors what Batman does. When the boy puts on his batman pajamas, Bruce Wayne puts on his Bat-suit.
6. “Goodnight Little Pookie” by Sandra Boynton. This cute story follows Pookie and his mom during his bedtime routine — getting on pajamas, brushing teeth, washing his nose (and mommy’s nose) and getting tucked into bed. We don’t read this book often anymore, but I can still remember the final poem by heart: “There are gentle winds blowing and stars all above you. Night-night, little Pookie. I love you and love you. And love you and love you. And love you and love you.”
7. “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. My kids enjoyed this cute board book when they were very small. It’s not very exciting, but the pictures are nice, and the entire book has a very good calming effect — the entire point of a good bedtime story.
8. “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late” by Mo Willems. A man leaves you in charge of making sure the pigeon doesn’t stay up late, but the pigeon has other ideas. He requests all these fun things to do instead of going to sleep and your child must be firm in saying no. What happens at the end won’t be shocking to any parent.
9. “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book” by Dr. Seuss. This rhyming tale revolves around Van Vleck, a bug who yawns and sets off a sleepy chain reaction. The sleepiness rubs off on everyone until it eventually reaches even your child.
10. “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” by Jane Yolen. At bedtime, a mother and child dinosaur think of all the different ways that dinosaurs say goodnight. There are 10 different sleepy dinosaurs — some give big hugs, some slam their tails and some throw their teddy bears.