The best bedtime stories

8 books to help your child sleep

By Malia Jacobson

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.

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep

By Kenn Nesbitt, 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 award-winning artist Christoph Niemann.

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 and feel safe and loved at bedtime.

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.

Bear Can’t Sleep

By Karma Wilson, 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.

Sweet Dreams Moonbeams

By Sara Conway, 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.

A Big Kid Bed is Coming! (How to Transition and Keep Your Toddler in Their Bed)

By Liz Fletcher, Illustrated by Greg Bishop

The big kid bed transition strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. This picture book helps calm nerves (parents’ and kids’) and paves the way for a smooth switch by framing the transition as a fun, inspiring adventure for Louie the elephant.

Big Kid Bed

By Leslie Patricelli

Parents and tots love the bright, playful images Leslie Patricelli creates as her lead baby character copes with familiar early-childhood milestones. In Big Kid Bed, Patricelli’s colorfully illustrated pages help toddlers conquer a rite of passage — so parents can get a peaceful night’s rest, too.

Devin & Evan Sleep From 8-7: Teaching Children the Importance of Sleep

By Whitney Roban Ph.D.

If a full night of sleep sounds like an impossible dream, add this book to your child’s bedtime lineup. This story of twin brothers Devin and Evan teaches kids about how sleep helps them live their best life, and addresses common childhood sleep problems, from trouble falling asleep at night to waking up before dawn.