Having trouble with bedtime? You are NOT alone. This is something that many (if not all) parents must deal with at some point. To help, we have some of the best Children’s books for bedtime.
- Bedtime Books for Babies & Toddlers (birth to 4)
- Bedtime Books for Elementary Children (5 to 8)
- Best Sleep Training Books (adults)
- Best Bedtime Stories (all ages)
Skip ahead to the section that interests you most or browse our entire collection of the best bedtime books. If you have any suggestions, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know! If there’s enough interest, we may expand the list.
Best Bedtime Books for Babies and Toddlers
Getting a baby to sleep is sometimes not about the story you are reading as much as the fact you are paying some attention to them. In fact, if your voice is soothing enough, you may be able to read them the phone book to have them drift off to sleep. Luckily, there are some books out there to help put babies to sleep so you don’t end up reading a list of names!
This is a classic from Peggy Rathmann. It is a very basic story that does not take a long time to read – which is great for bedtime – but it is funny and helps with recognition and naming of different types of animals. On top of that, there’s a sense of humor to the book, which small children can get into. Babies will love the art while older children may actually follow the simple story. The book is almost wordless, but the expressive art and attention to the small details in the book is sure to make it a favorite of children and adults.
Written by Patsy Scarry and illustrated by Richard Scarry, this is a classic children’s story that deals with bedtime for small children. It is really good for toddlers. While getting little bear ready for bed, papa bear seems to misplace his child! Oh noes! In all seriousness, this silly story may be just the thing to subtly walk a child through the routine of getting ready for bedtime.
Bedtime Books for Elementary Children
For children who are starting school – preschool or kindergarten – getting enough sleep is more important than ever before in their little life. While there are a lot of books for adults on the science of sleep for children (we look at some of these below), these books tackle bedtime in an offhand way that really stimulates the imagination.
Even if you have heard of Dr. Suess before, you may not know about this book. It is not as well known as some of his other books – like Cat in the Hat – but it is a somewhat funny story about sleep and going to bed. With wonderful illustrations and a voice that can only come from Dr. Suess, this is a great bedtime book for school age children who still like to be read to before it is bedtime. Compared to other Suess books, this one is almost totally about the imagination rather than a particular character or situation. We think it’s a good addition to any growing bedtime book collection.
Written by Peggy Rathmann – who did Goodnight, Gorilla – has a book that is different but in many ways a lot better according to some parents – and children. It should be noted that this book has no-story – well, not a story in words. The only real words are a countdown to bedtime. However, the pictures are truly worth a thousand words (or more) each. Because of the lack of actual story and a triggering of the imagination, it may be possible to get your little one to sleep. One of the really cool things about this book is that each time you go through it you seem to notice something a little different. This is part of the beauty of the book – one your little one may fall in love with and want to hear every night.
Best Sleep Training Books
For toddlers – and even older children – bedtime can be a battle to say the least. There are quite a few books out there – for parents and children – about getting ready for bed and sleep. We are going to take a look at both so that you can attack the problem from as many angles as you can and get your precious angels (or little monsters) to sleep!
This was written by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, who knows quite a bit about children and sleeping problems. He is a pediatrician and father of four, which gives him a good perspective when it comes to problems with children. “I love Dr. Weissbluth’s philosophy that the most important thing to have is a well-rested family. And fortunately, thanks to this book, most days (and nights) we do!” wrote Cindy Crawford in the foreword to the book. Weissbluth deals mostly with babies and small children, so this may be best for new or expecting parents who want to avoid any potential problems with sleeping.
Written by Richard Ferber M.D., this book has been recommended by quite a few parents who have had trouble with their child not sleeping. Because Ferber is a doctor that has dealt with children, he knows what he is talking about and has helped a lot of children get a better night of rest. Full of facts and practical tips and advice, this book can go a long way in making sure everyone in the house is able to achieve a full night of rest. The book is very easy to read overall, and we think you’re going to get some use out of it when trying to deal with sleeping problems.
Best Bedtime Stories
Once the bedtime lessons have been hammered home with a hundred or more readings, you may just want a nice, short story that you can read before bedtime. The following books fit the bill nicely. If you want a book with a good bedtime story, we can help. Some of these also contain situations or lessons that will help with the battle for bedtime in your house.
The Napping House
The Napping House was written by Audrey Wood and is illustrated by Don Wood. This makes a pretty good general bedtime story – or a nap time story – because it deals with a house where everyone is napping. Well, everyone is napping except for one tiny flea – who bites a mouse and then… you get the picture.
The book is full of rhymes, but they tend to flow quite well, giving it a melody which may help little ones fall asleep faster. The story is a big silly, but in a very fun way. This book is recommended for ages 4 and up, although some smaller children may get a kick out of it as well.
If your little one loves dinosaurs – or you think they may learn to love dinosaurs – this is a great book. It features a dino who does not want to go to bed. Primarily for ages four years old and up, it also has a lot of really cool illustrations. Jane Yolen is the author and Mark Teague the illustrator. Together, they make a pretty wonderful team.
The book contains every imaginable excuse for NOT going to bed. The story is silly (like a lot of others on our list), but the way it is told may drive home the point that a bedtime battle every night is not really necessary if there are enough hugs and kisses involved. The book is funny and there are a lot of small details that will keep it a favorite for many moons and many bedtimes.
Llama Llama Red Pajama
This is another classic bedtime book about an animal who does not want to go to sleep. The reasons listed will most likely be some of the same your child uses to try to bypass bedtime. The heartwarming picturebook was written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney.
The book is good in that the ending has Momma Llama explaining that sometimes she may be too busy to come right away all the time but that didn’t mean she didn’t love Llama Llama. A pretty good listen for children of all ages. The book is for ages 3 and older. It’s a good choice up until first grade for most children.
Other Best Bedtime Books for Children?
Again, if you know of any great books about bedtime we have missed, be sure to leave a comment below! Thanks and goodnight!