Books About Sleep for Kids

Many gifted children have a hard time getting to sleep. This problem can start as early as infancy. Some children simply need less sleep than others, but that's a separate issue. Whether a child needs as much sleep as other children of the same age or needs less, he still needs to fall asleep, and that is where the problem is. The children who have trouble falling asleep will often say that their brains won't shut off. Bedtime routines can help, but the kids also need other ways to shut down their brains as well. Some charming sleep books can help.

1
Dr. Seuss's Sleep Softly Book

Dr. Seuss's Sleep Softly Book
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This book is sure to calm down a youngster and get him ready for sleep. We all know how contagious yawns are. You see someone yawn, and you find yourself yawning. As the book says:

A yawn is quite catching, you see. Like a cough.
It just takes one yawn to start other yawns off.

Dr. Seuss characters talk about sleep and on every page, at least one of them is yawning. What makes this one especially fun for younger children is that the book is "interactive" - in the old fashioned way. It's a touch and feel book, so kids can feel blankets and silks and poke soft beds, pillows and bellies.

Ages 1 and up

2
Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon
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This was one of our favorites, perhaps because my son loved everything about outer space, including the moon. Although your child's mind will be activated by looking for the items in the pictures that are mentioned in the text, the way the story is told and the way the drawings are done will lead your child to a peaceful calm place where he will be ready for sleep.

Ages 1 and up

3
The Napping House

The Napping House
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This book was another of our favorites. It's hard to avoid being lulled to a peaceful place that leads to sleep after reading this book. The colors of the pictures are all quite muted, to reflect the lack of light in the house during the night. Everyone looks tired or is already sleeping (even the cat). Adding to the calming atmosphere is the fact that it's raining...not storming, just rain. You can imagine the soft sounds of the rain on a peaceful evening. The pictures illustrate a fun story that works in much the same way as "The House That Jack Built," with each page adding something new to the rhyming list of what is found in the napping house.

Ages 2-3

4
The Going To Bed Book

The Going To Bed Book
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A charming group of animals aboard a boat get ready for bed by doing what most children do to prepare for sleep time: they brush their teeth, take a bath, and put on their pajamas. The story is told in rhyme and by the time children get to the end of the book, illustrated in the familiar and fun Sandra Boynton style, they feel like the animals, who rock, rock, rock to sleep.

Ages 2 to 5

5
The Sleep Fairy

The Sleep Fairy
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This book can appeal to the magical world young children delight in. From the book, children learn about the "Sleep Fairy," who rewards children who stay in bed. If a child won't stay in bed, it's not likely he's going to fall asleep! If the child stays in bed all night, the Sleep Fairy will leave a little something. It could be a sticker, a small piece of candy, a little puzzle book, anything that you think your child would like (and that you want her to have). After all, you are the Sleep Fairy, though your child doesn't know that. The first gift might be something you know your child would enjoy - but small, like a puzzle book or coloring book. Then move on to the stickers or one crayon. If you periodically change what the Fairy leaves, your child is less likely to get out of bed. That night just might be the one when she gets a special treat. This book may not work for every family. At some point, the Sleep Fairy has to stop leaving gifts.

Ages 3 to 8

6
Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes
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Some kids can't sleep because they worry, not necessarily about big things, but little ones. What will they miss if they go to sleep? That's the case with the little tiger in this bedtime story. His mother tells him to close his eyes, but he's afraid he won't see the sky. But his mother reassures him, telling him that he will not only see the sky but float among the clouds, and then tells him again to close his eyes. Each time she tells him to close his eyes, he expresses a new concern. And each time his mother reassures him. The illustrations alternate between the waking world and the imaginary sleep world that the little tiger's mother describes.

Ages 3 to 6

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