A few weeks ago, there was major internet buzz about this book, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, and how it was literally bedtime magic for kids who have a hard time drifting off to dreamland. I knew I had to try it. Luckily, I had a friend who downloaded it and shared a copy with me. I couldn’t wait to see if it would really work on my kids.
First, let me set up our bedtime routine for you. I have three children. My oldest, who is nearly 6, just started kindergarten and no longer has the opportunity to nap. He also must wake up early for school, so we had to move up his bedtime to accommodate his need for more sleep (and because he is exhausted). At least one night a week, he conks out right before or immediately after dinner. Obviously, I do not need this book for him.
Then there is my middle child. My daughter will be 4-years-old next month. She loves to talk, sing, wiggle and squirm until eventually she wears herself out. Even cutting out her nap has not really shortened her bedtime much. My youngest son is very similar. He keeps moving until sleep eventually overtakes him. These two could definitely use some magic from the book.
The first time I pulled it out, the kids were excited. They love stories. Me on the other hand was skeptical. I’m usually pretty apprehensive of anything that seems like it is a quick or easy fix for a complicated situation. And as any parent can tell you, bedtime can get complicated.
Over the course of three children, I have read A LOT of stories through the years. And during this course of time, only one child, one time, has fallen asleep in the midst of a book. Could there really be a new book on the market that could drastically change this track record?
The instructions in the book are very clear. Read this book slowly. The italicized words, read even slower. The bold words, read slightly louder and more forcefully, like fall asleep now. Yawn when directed. This book was specifically designed to help children become tired and fall asleep … so they claim.
There are very few illustrations, which is good, because honestly, illustrations can be a distraction in bedtime stories. But sadly, the lack of illustrations may be the only thing I really like about this book.
Not to mention, the story is LONG. It’s listed on Amazon as 24 pages, but I think there are only 21 pages of actual story. By the time you get to page 20, it feels like page 200 because you are reading so slowly and yawning at strategic intervals.
And If your child is anything like my daughter, she will ask questions. A LOT of them.
You have two options, answer the question in a short, calm, ready-to-move-on sort of voice, which may or may not elicit further commentary from your still-very-awake child, or try to ignore the question(s) and keep reading. In my case, the second option is completely unacceptable. My daughter just kept talking and asking the same question, only louder, and I had no choice but to answer it before she disturbed her older brother, who I already could hear snoring before I even began reading.
What sort of questions, you might ask?
“Why is he called Uncle Yawn?”
“Is that an owl, mommy?”
“Is the owl a boy or a girl?”
“Do you have sleeping powder?”
“What’s a spell?”
Basically all questions that either do not really have an acceptable answer for an almost 4-year-old, or are questions she already knows the answer to.
I was sooooo done with this book, in more ways than one. I wanted that tired rabbit to go to sleep even more than the rabbit supposedly wanted to fall asleep. I WISH I had success, but it just wasn’t the case for me.
I shared my failure with my Facebook friends, who also had mixed results. Some said I should try again. So I tried again. And got exactly the same results. We have not tried a third time.
Our routine now? I read a short bedtime story from my phone, then switch it to play music while I play games and Facebook. Bedtime hasn’t changed much, but I’ve just come to accept the fact that some people, even children, just take longer to shut off their brains (and mouths) than others.
As a result, I’m learning to look at things differently and embrace this time together, rather than wising it away. I’m enjoying snuggling with my little one at bedtime — this time with them is far too short, and before long, they will not want me to watch over their journey to dreamland.
As they say, “let them be little” … and I’m doing just that.