Reading "The Rabbit Who Wanted to Fall Asleep" to my daughter

Short Report: A Review of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Editor’s Notes:

  1. this is the first in a series of Short Report reviews where take quick looks at kid products of interest to dads. They won’t be as in-depth as our 30 Day Trial Reviews, but if we don’t have at least a good gut instinct about a product, we won’t do a Short Report. This Short Report is a review of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep.
  2. we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. You can learn more about our policies regarding affiliate links here.

Item: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Type: Book / System to Get Kids to Sleep

Short description: a system for getting kids to fall asleep in the form of a book with sleep-suggestive language

Price: $10 On Amazon

Rating (1-10): 4

Review Summary: Seems to have potential, but length (30-minute read) meant I had to allow an exorbitant amount of time for it or cut into reading other books we enjoyed together. I read the entire book to Kenzie (3.5 years old) 3 times, she didn’t fall asleep during any of these readings. Ended up shelving it, might make another attempt later.

The Details

This book isn’t really a book, but rather a method for helping your child fall asleep. It makes some pretty hyperbolic claims in the form of instructions and warnings: “if your child falls asleep before you finish reading, it’s best to finish” and “never read this book out loud close to someone driving any type of vehicle or engaged in any other activity that requires wakefulness.” After reading these, I expected big results, and was darn excited to try it out, especially since our 3-year-old had been having some difficulty falling asleep – she frequently stayed awake for long periods after we were done reading to her.

We’d previously tried a couple of fairly effective techniques for calming her down –

1) instead of allowing her to come out of her room and barrage us with questions and requests, we’d first told her she was to stay in bed but could call us if she needed something, and then added a limit of 3 times to these loud “Mommy? Daddy?”s. Once she hit #3, we told her we would need to close her door and “stop responding for a while”. This language was chosen very carefully because we didn’t want to use “ignore”.

2) Since she couldn’t read yet but loved puzzles we allowed her to do a puzzle in bed for a few minutes after we finished reading if she wasn’t ready to go to sleep. This had the effect of keeping her in bed, keeping her occupied, and hopefully winding her down. Mostly fairly effective, but we struggled with puzzle choice, which could turn into an ordeal, when she wanted to do a puzzle that was too difficult and either got frustrated or wanted help, or when we encountered other mishaps – puzzles that didn’t work well on the soft surface of bed, pieces falling out of bed, in-between the bed and the wall, etc.

So, onto the new method – The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep.

There are a few things to know about this book:

1. It is long. I was totally unprepared for this the first time we read it (I figured I’d make it the last book we read after reading a couple of others, quickly realized it was damn long and that was a mistake since I was expecting it to fill the last few minutes of our reading time together. The book took me about 30 minutes to read to Kenzie.

2. There’s an illustration some children might find creepy. One of the characters in the book is a sleepy snail. After looking at it for about 5 second my daughter pronounced she didn’t want to look at it anymore, which made reading the page (each page takes 4-5 minutes to read) a challenge. Looking at it objectively, I can see why she came to this conclusion:

An illustration of a snail from The Rabbit Who Wanted to Fall Asleep

3. The book references the child’s name throughout – “Relax your feet, [name]. Roger and you …” While I see why this is used, this caused Kenzie to get excited about the fact that she was in the book and want to see where her name was written, causing me to have to explain that I was supposed to say her name wherever the book said, “[name]”. Neither of these helped Kenzie get sleepy.

The book in action, where we landed:

The book uses language based on “powerful psychological techniques” and includes phrases like, “… you can already see yourself fall asleep. You feel calm and relaxed and can do as I tell you. Now. Fall asleep …” These are at first interesting but quite repetitive, meaning the book isn’t really a particularly interesting story – which makes sense given it’s supposed to help kids fall asleep, but still – it’s 30 minutes long!

I read this book all the way through to Kenzie 3 nights in a row. The first night she was wide awake at the end asking questions about it. I thought perhaps some repetition would help this, but the same thing happened (with slightly fewer questions) on night two and night three, along with the not wanting to see the snail bit.

I certainly could have kept going and found that the book knocked her out like a light starting on night 6, but wasn’t willing to keep going, primarily because given how long the book is I’d have found it necessary to make this the only book we read at night, and wasn’t willing to do this given how much I value our reading time together. The book does note that many children start falling asleep during the reading, even after a page or two, which would certainly cut down on the time allotment, but this wasn’t something I had the patience to get to.

Also of note:

  • The book is available in audio form, presumably read by an actor who’s very good at using the right tone, drawing out the right words, etc.
  • There’s also “The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep [Amazon]” to “add variety” (and perhaps friendlier-looking creatures, based on what the cover looks like).
  • I wondered if this book would make me extremely sleepy too, limiting my usefulness after Kenzie went to bed, but wasn’t able to put this to the test as the nights we read this book I was already quite exhausted due to having a newborn.

Final Verdict

This book didn’t work for my daughter, at least not at first, and the length made continuing to experiment too much of a burden. That said, every kid is different. If you’ve got a kid who’s just not falling asleep and you’re looking to try something different, I wouldn’t rule it out if you keep the above in mind.

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