Implementing a bedtime routine with your child is an essential component of creating healthy sleep habits. From a warm bubble bath to changing into special pajamas, having a specific sequence of events to prepare for rest time can help your little one sleep both better and longer. One of the best ways to prepare your toddler to sleep in addition to spending quality time together is reading a book. This selection of toddler bedtime books for sleep is the perfect addition to your nighttime routine to help your little one wind down. With thoughtful messages and beautiful illustrations, you’re sure to ease your toddler into sleep time by sharing these stories together.
Best Toddler Bedtime Books for Sleep
1. Bedtime by Elizabeth Verdick
(Best board book — $)
Why it’s great: The charming story of a family preparing for bed, Bedtime by Elizabeth Verdick is supplemented with cheerful, soft illustrations and a reassuring tone. This bedtime story depicts the different aspects of a bedtime routine in toddler-friendly language and shares the benefits of a good night’s rest. Bedtime also provides bedtime tips for parents and caregivers.
Keep in mind: Given that the text explicitly references bedtime, this book is suitable to read before bed but not as fitting before rest time or nap time.
Good for: Toddlers who are still mouthing their books.
2. I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb
(Best illustrations — $$)
Why it’s great: As a beautiful testament to the love between a parent and child, I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb pairs lyrical text with magical illustrations. Inspired by the author’s adoption of her own daughter, this bedtime story is rooted in unconditional love. Ideally, for those new to the adventure of parenthood, this story is the perfect gift for new mothers and fathers.
Keep in mind: This bedtime story has limited words and is more of a keepsake text rather than having a detailed storyline to follow.
Good for: Toddlers who use picture support to help understand a story.
3. Goodnight Digger by Michelle Robinson
(Best for truck enthusiasts — $)
Why it’s great: The captivating rhyming words and fun images of Goodnight Digger by Michelle Robinson are sure to help even the most rambunctious tots wind down. Children can say goodnight to their favorite vehicles, from heavy-duty trucks to horse-drawn carriages. The repetitive nature of the story helps little ones chime in for an even more engaging reading experience.
Keep in mind: This book is a paperback, so use caution around toddlers or infants who are still putting items in their mouths.
Good for: Toddlers who love trucks and vehicles.
4. Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer
(Best read aloud — $)
Why it’s great: When Little Critter is having too much fun with his day, transitioning to bedtime is posing to be a bit of a challenge for him. Modeled after a toddler’s busy agenda, Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer is an endearing, humorous read to encourage toddlers to get into bed. From taking a bath to getting into his jammies, this bedtime story about Little Critter’s evening is not only fun to read, but a productive way to introduce your tot to a soothing bedtime routine.
Keep in mind: This book has a humorous undertone and may wind some toddlers up rather than get them ready for sleep.
Good for: Parents reading stories aloud to their toddlers.
5. The Goodnight Train by June Sobel
(Best rhyming book — $)
Why it’s great: The unique, imaginative storyline of The Goodnight Train by June Sobel is guaranteed to engage nearly all toddlers. With descriptions of ice cream clouds and leaping sheep, this bedtime book is equal parts sweet and silly. The author and illustrator create a magical dreamland that will help even the most resistant sleeper prepare for snuggles and sleep.
Keep in mind: The illustrations include exceptional details and may be too busy for some toddlers to use to wind down.
Good for: Parents and toddlers who find rhyming books fun to read and listen to.
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6. Disney Bedtime Favorites by Disney Books
(Best collection of stories — $$)
Why it’s great: Including 18 stories and over 250 illustrations, the Disney Bedtime Favorites by Disney Books ensures you always have an old classic or a new favorite to read with your children. Nearly all of your toddler’s favorite Disney characters are included in exciting and endearing tales. The high-quality hardcover means this book will last through generations.
Keep in mind: Given the number of pages included, it may be difficult for little hands to hold or carry this book independently.
Good for: Parents who prefer to have more than one story included in their bedtime books.
7. Bedtime Songs by Scarlett Wing
(Best musical book — $$)
Why it’s great: Babies and toddlers can enjoy their favorite bedtime stories with a musical twist. The wooden inlay and sturdy construction of Bedtime Songs by Scarlett Wing can withstand the rough and tough use of toddlers. The ten sleepytime songs with matching illustrations can help lull even the most active tots to sleep.
Keep in mind: The musical buttons only play instrumental melodies without a singing voice.
Good for: Toddlers who respond to books with a music component.
FAQs about Best Toddler Bedtime Books for Sleep
1. What should I look for in a bedtime book for toddlers?
When looking for a bedtime book for toddlers, opt for a soothing story that may include calm pictures and enjoyable rhymes. Avoid bright, active stories that call for children’s participation as it may wind them up before bedtime.
2. How do I implement a book into my toddler’s bedtime routine?
Provide your toddlers with the power of decision-making to make reading an enjoyable activity for them. Offer your little ones a small selection of book choices and allow them to choose which book they want to read before bed. Some toddlers prefer the same book each night, while others prefer a rotation of favorites.
3. Which book is best to prepare my toddler for sleep at bedtime?
A book that provides a soothing storyline and calming illustrations is best to prepare your little one for bed. A story that talks directly about sleeping and bedtime routines may also be beneficial. Avoid stories with exhilarating or upsetting conflicts to make sure you don’t induce nightmares or restlessness before sleep.
4. How many bedtime books should I get to prepare my toddler for sleep?
The number of bedtime books you read with your toddler before bed is entirely dependent on what works best for your family routines. When reading short books, two to three may suffice. If reading a longer story, a chapter or a section of the story may be best. Reading before bed can last as little as five minutes to twenty minutes or more.
5. At what age can you read my toddler bedtime books for sleep?
You can begin reading to your little one while they are still in utero! It is never too early to begin reading to your child. Simply provide books that are of interest to your tot’s particular age. Reading to your child from birth is an easy way to integrate literacy on a daily basis.
Introducing a toddler bedtime book for sleep is an effective way to prepare your little one for bedtime. From soothing rhymes to musical pairings, this selection of stories to prepare your toddler for sleep can help you and your child wind down and get ready for a restful evening. Reading a story before bed is one of the best ways to close the end of an active day and transition to rest time, both for parents and children. Whether you opt to read the same story each night for consistency or have a selection of books to choose from, these toddler bedtime books for sleep cover an array of child-friendly concepts and literary styles that are the ideal addition to your library.