At the end of a busy tiring day, all most parents want is a swift happy bedtime and see their child settle into bed and fall asleep quickly. Sadly for many it becomes a hugely stressful part of the day that ends in tears and tantrums (for parents and kids alike!)
I know what its like to have a child who doesn't sleep. I really know what its like. When J was a baby, he dropped his daytime nap completely at 15 months old whilst all his playmates continued to nap for several hours in the afternoons for many more years.
Nighttimes were no better as he would hop out of bed multiple times in the evening and then through the night if he woke up (he went from a cot to a bed early as he was such a climber it became dangerous to keep him in the cot as he could climb and fall out).
We read the parenting books, tried all the advice and nothing seemed to work.
Thankfully, our second child, D, was somewhat better. Although once the dummy went, so did the ease of falling asleep.
Miss T, our third child who is now 3 years old (you'd think we'd have this sleep thing sussed by now wouldn't you?), has been better still as she's a thumb sucker so we don't have the dummy problem. But at the moment, she still sleeps in a Gro-bag sleeping bag and is rapidly outgrowing it. Her cot is now transformed into 'cot-bed' rather than cot with bars and so I am dreading the day she no longer has the gro-bag and realises that she could hop out of bed herself.
Her usual routine does include a book at bedtime anyway and so I was very intrigued to find out exactly how this book works.
Written by behavioural scientist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin who is also a Swedish teacher of communications, a life coach and a leadership trainer, what exactly were these techniques that have proved so successful to have made this book a Number 1 best-seller elsewhere?
Reading the book, it soon becomes clear that the writing is very intentional and has been designed to help the child feel sleepy. With lots of actual yawning required and key parts to mention your child's name specifically.
The book is easy to use as it is very straightforward which words you need to emphasize, which you need to read calmly and where to yawn and use your child's name.
If it was posing as a regular story - it would be weird as some of the sentence structures don't work as a normal story. But as a type of guided relaxation, which I think is what the book tries to do, it does seem to work.
Although she didn't fall asleep during the story (some children do apparently), her body language started to show signs of tiredness and she started to yawn too.
One of the issues we had is that our normal storytime is an interactive time for chatting and bonding and so Miss T wanted to chat about the pictures, point things out and turn the pages herself. All those things kept her more alert and awake.
I think with practice though, that may change. It may be that in future we have a more interactive story first where she can chat and get more involved and follow it up with this one as a calm story to relax to.
This book seems to be aimed at children aged between 1 and 6 but my feeling is that toddler aged children may not fully 'get it'. Miss T got a little restless at one point as it is a longer story than she is used to and a child aged 1 or 2 may not really understand what it means to 'relax'.
However, I think from age 4 or 5 upwards, it could prove to be a very useful tool. When 9 year old D was restless last night, I read him the whole book and before it had finished he HAD fallen asleep! I couldn't quite believe my eyes!
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep is available now in eBook and will be available in paperback and audio on 2nd October. The audio version will allow you to choose between a male and female narrator. Find out more and buy here.
As part of the Mumsnet Blogger Network we were sent this book for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.
Mumsnet have put together a video where you can see how we and others got on with the #RabbitBook.