bedtime stories · board books · OBSERVATIONS

Best Bedtime Book. EVER.

SWEET-DREAMS-LULLABY_COVER-300x300Our little girl began protesting bedtime in early November. Nothing that we seemed to do made the transition into her crib for the night easier. At first I blamed the time change. Once we got her back to bed at her normal time, and the problem still persisted, I blamed her age. Maybe bedtime was just going to be tough.

Everything changed ten days ago when I tried something new. I grabbed a copy of Betsy Snyder’s newest board book, Sweet Dreams Lullaby, which was already a beloved picture book. I put the board book version in Isabelle’s crib at bedtime with the hope she’d enjoy flipping through the pages after I kissed her goodnight.  On December 20th, Isabelle was calm when I put her in her crib. Therefore, I grabbed Sweet Dreams Lullaby from its place on her crib mattress and began reading it to her as she stood in her crib looking at the illustrations and listening, calmly, to the soothing rhythmic verses.  Once I was finished reading it to her, I turned off the light, kissed her goodnight, and closed the door.  Not a peep was heard.  Every night since December 20th we’ve been reading Sweet Dreams Lullaby aloud to her right after we place her in her crib.  It doesn’t matter who puts her to sleep (i.e., me, my husband, or a grandparent), she goes right to bed after she listens to Sweet Dreams Lullaby read aloud to her!

I had tried reading the picture book version of Sweet Dreams Lullaby to Isabelle, with her on my lap, once this whole tough transition to bed thing started.  However, the picture book version didn’t soothe her like it had in the months prior.  (In fact, no other book soothed her either!)  It seems Snyder’s board book has become the secret to calming Isabelle down and getting her to bed without any tears.

AND, to top it all off, the title page has a picture of the baby bunny brushing his teeth in his pajamas prior to bed.  Since we went out to dinner with family last night, Isabelle’s bedtime routine was thrown-off.  Therefore, when I got her into her crib to read the book, looking at the illustration of the bunny triggered my memory that we forgot to brush her teeth.  I quickly grabbed her out of the crib, took her to brush her teeth, and then put her back in her crib to read Sweet Dreams Lullaby to her.  Think that flustered her?  Not a bit. She was perfectly content to listen to the board book read aloud and didn’t mind the teeth brushing interruption.  Incredible!


32 thoughts on “Best Bedtime Book. EVER.

  1. Sounds liek a wonderful book. Long ago, my son loved a similar book with similar simple rhythm and rhyme but for the LIFE of me, I cannot remember what it was called! I know there was a boat in it and a line about rocking yoursefl to sleep…..and the book was in shreds at the end of its days! Now I wish I remembered / saved that book…sigh…

  2. I can still quote the books we read night after night. There is something special about the one book. It will live with her forever, the sounds, the rhythm, but mostly the loving kindness of the people who read it to her, over and over without tiring. Happy New Year!

    1. I thought of your comment as I read this book to Isabelle tonight. I can read most of the pages without looking down at each line. To that end, I don’t tire of the book. I am just delighted we found something that works. Happy New Year to you too, Margaret.

  3. Yes, once you find the book or the routine that triggers the “all set for bed” mode…you are golden! You may have to find another bunny book to have in the wings for when she gets a bit older. Or maybe it’s the rhythm and rhyme she needs. I remember loving to hear poems from “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Stevenson when I was young. It gave me words and images to carry me off to sleep.

  4. You know I’m a sucker for bedtime stories. 😉 But I want to comment on your OLW choice. VITALITY. It’s scary goodness. I chose it in 2010. I can’t wait to hear your adventure with this word. I was thinking of your choice WELLNESS as I mulled over the selection for this year. It’ll be neat to see how your learning from WELLNESS will make for a richer understanding of VITALITY.

    1. I think they really go together, Ruth. I still have my wellness placard on my desk, which stares down at me every day. I think there’s a nice intersection of the two words. Will keep you posted (though most likely on TWT).
      BTW: Wonder was a great word for me last year. It really helped me to see the world through a child’s eyes. What a fabulous way to look at the world.

  5. I hate bedtime battles. Once my kids were old enough to protest, I would let them do as they pleased at bedtime as long as they stayed in bed (older than crib, obviously). I always read them a story and then tucked them in with hugs and kisses and gave them a stack of books to look at. My daughter would often creep out of bed to add toys to her bed (sometimes there wasn’t really room for her) but they stopped protesting bed time because they knew they could read or play a little bit on their own. They were always asleep within a half hour anyway so it was never a big deal. Having clear and reasonable expectations makes such a difference. Obviously advice for kidlets older than your daughter but something to think about . . .

  6. Now that is a great find, and just in time for those bed time blues. I think even I would fall asleep quite peacefully with thoughts of sweet dreams and lullabies floating about in my mind as I drifted off. Happy New Year to you both!

  7. There is something powerful about the bedtime routine established for children. A transition to sleep with a story. You’ve shown how a special book can make all the difference. This got me thinking that maybe I should choose the same short book, poem or scripture passage to read to myself every night. The familiarity might provide a comforting passage for adults as well. Thank you Stacey for opening up possibilities and reminding me to choose OLW.

  8. This is a great book to know about – thanks for the recommendation! Reading about your bedtime tradition made me recall ours when our children were young – and made me smile for us all. Happy New Year!

  9. Awesome! I will have to suggest the book to my sister-in-law for my niece who’s had some troubling bedtime issues lately. Sounds like a sanity-saving routine and what a sweet story.

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