One of the main pieces of common wisdom about convincing stubborn tots to fall back to sleep when they wake up during the night is that the best way to do it is to be as boring as possible – and it makes sense! Many toddlers dislike sleep because it gets in the way of their busy schedules of running around, knocking things over, and seeing whether various pieces of furniture will hold their weight if they start climbing.
From books that are written specifically to be boring to infamous guaranteed-to-send-children-to-sleep books that seem to rely on hypnosis, there are a million recommendations out there for bedtime stories that can cut long nights short, but most parents agree that what’s more important for a soporific bedtime story than the book itself is the voice you use to read it in. Soft, repetitive, sing-song tones that may even occasionally be cut off by a yawn can do a lot more to send your little one off to dreamland than even the dullest story read energetically.
Once you’ve got the voice down, choosing the right story is just icing on the cake, but there’s a good chance that you already have the perfect, bore-your-toddler-to-snoring story sitting around your house – or at least a few clicks away online.
Not every section of the newspaper is appropriate for boring toddlers to sleep – or even for reading out loud anywhere a toddler might walk past – but the financial news isn’t generally where the really juicy stuff is hiding, or if it is, it’s not written in words most toddlers are familiar with. Plenty of people find the nitty-gritty details of the financial section to be prime entertainment, but most of those people don’t tend to be under 2 years old.
Want to get some visions of sugar plums dancing in Baby’s head as she drifts off? Detour at the kitchen on your way to her bedroom, and grab a cookbook. Recipes don’t have a ton of narrative structure, but the point of this story isn’t to grab her attention, it’s to send her off into sweet dreams.
Does your home have any old textbooks on the shelf that you never got around to discarding? If you ever came close to falling asleep in class, you should have some idea how easily the life cycle of the tree frog can help someone who’s in the right frame of mind fall asleep – and who knows? Some of that information might make an impression on Baby.
This is last-resort, end-of-the-night reading, right? If it looks like you’ll be reading to Baby until the sun comes up, and it’s time to get up and do it all again, try choosing something you actually want to read as her last story of the night, whether that’s the best seller everyone’s been talking about or the article your sister linked you to last week. It’s your evening, too, and if you’re not going to get any sleep for a while, you may as well get to have a little fun.