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The Best Bedtime Stories for Babies & Toddlers

Updated on September 17, 2016

Goodnight, sleep tight...

When we started a bedtime routine for our little one, we noticed a drastic difference in how fast and peaceably he fell asleep. Books have a soothing effect especially in our little ones who are so full of energy. Calming down at bedtime is no easy task for a little coffee bean and adding in a couple of bedtime stories is just the trick to send them off to dreamland.

The List!

"Goodnight Train" is a book that has a choo-choo rhythm to it. The balanced words and sounds are both soothing and creative and the pictures are too cute to boot! The journey follows a tired train as he gets sleepier and sleepier the closer he gets to dreamland carrying tired children in his cars. The illustrations are clever and fun. Take a skunk who gets given a bath by the conductor and then dreams about giving the conductor a bath in revenge!

"Goodnight Moon" is ever popular as its pages and rhythms echo a tired child's heavy eyelids. It's also fun for children to find the mouse hidden on every page. Unfortunately, we loved this one so much we tired of it, but still pull it out on occasion.

"Guess How Much I Love You." Our munchkin didn't latch onto this one until later in his babyhood, but when he did, it was with a gusto! The sweetest story of two rabbits on their way to bed. Each one is trying to prove he loves the other more. In the end, the Daddy rabbit wins, not only the competition, but also in putting his baby to sleep.

"Goodnight Owl." This sweet book was an immediate favorite. It teaches little ones animal names and includes them in the story at the end. A Fisher Price classic-and not too pricey either.

"Goodnight Gorilla." We have this book in an a large size and it has been a must every night since Grandma gave it to us. A clever story of a zookeeper putting the animals to bed. Secretly, the gorilla has stolen his keys and is letting each animal out as the zookeeper goes by. My child loves to find the balloon hidden on almost every page.

"Pooh's Bees." Although this one is not technically a bedtime story, it has become a favorite. Winnie the Pooh in his classic form always makes for a sweet image before bedtime. The story is not too long and has a nice ho-hum rhythm to it.

The Sweetest Dreams are the End Goal!

These books are proven favorites at our house-we read them time and again. I would love to know what some of your favorites have been and what you think of my list. Usually we take books for a test drive from our local library and if we end up checking them out several times, they get added to the collection. I am sure it will change and grow with baby. Enjoy!


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    • StephanieWeemhoff profile image

      Stephanie Weemhoff 16 months ago from Northern Michigan

      Agreed. This does not mean however, that certain texts are more interesting to the child. I find it is much more pleasant to read a book to a child who is interested than one who is squirming, screaming, and generally not paying attention because it is above his comprehension and does not bring anyone closer to a relaxed state at bedtime. Shakespearean sonnets have an excellent rhythm that many babies enjoy, but very few words they can pick out that they understand.

    • profile image

      Setank Setunk 16 months ago

      Reading to your child at any age is about stimulating his or her interest in the written word. The story itself is a buy line to cue interest. Since the introduction of Dr. Seuss and other dumbed down publications the vocabulary and reading comprehension of our youth has dropped to humiliating levels. I read "The Old Man and The Sea" to my daughter when she was 2 years old.