Prepare for Bedtime
In order to get the best results with the story, your child should be worn out before you read it. There are, however, examples where parents have said that their very active child has managed to fall asleep right at the start of the story. You can also prepare your child before you read the bedtime story by communicating in a special way. Here are a few examples of what you might say:
“It looks like your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier. It’ll soon be time to go to sleep.”
“You’re getting sleepier and sleepier, aren’t you [yawn]?”
“Tonight we’re going to read a magical story that might make you want to fall asleep, maybe even before the story ends.”
Focus on Relaxation
Some children will want to look at the pictures while you read the story, and some prefer just to listen. If your child is able to lie down in bed and listen to the story instead of looking at the pictures, there will be less visual information to process and your child will be more focused on what you’re saying.
Give the audiobook a try
My wife and I used the audiobook with our son before he was born. We started playing it when he was still in the womb when we were going to sleep, so he made the mental connection between the story and sleep. After he was born, we played the audiobook every evening when it was time to go to sleep. Now, he is three years old and falls asleep easily in the evenings, with or without the audiobook, because he has learned to relax. Whenever he’s sick or if we’re travelling, we use the audiobook to help him feel safe and calm when it’s time to go to bed.