Enchanting illustrated stories to help young children drift off to sleep, supported by mindfulness exercises…
● A series of brand new books from Oxford University Press.
● Sweetly written and beautifully illustrated.
● Hypnotic, dreamlike simple narratives designed to calm and settle.
● Includes QR code links to free audio content.
● Provides mindfulness exercises to prepare the child for sleeping.
We all know the importance of getting a full night’s sleep.
Failure to get a good night is bad enough for an adult, but it can have even greater repercussions for children. Not only will they be missing out on the rest and recovery that is so important for young bodies, but it can also have a knock-on effect for the parents and carers.
This can cause extra stress within the household and strain relationships between hard-working people who also need the chance to recuperate at the end of a long day.
There are many factors that can lead to sleep problems, and these will vary from child to child. Some will be controllable, but others, such as light or noise from the outside world, might not.
What usually helps, though, is having a clear, familiar routine, including the chance to ease down from the excitements of the day.
What better way to create a calm wind-down routine than the cosy closeness of a gentle bedtime story?
When this is combined with activities specifically designed to help the child let go of the day and focus on the present moment, the chances of a stress-free evening should increase significantly. Which is why this new series of Sleep Stories from Oxford University Press (RRP £7.99 per book) might just turn bedtime battles into a loving, bonded experience for child and adult alike.
Written by Sarah Cordingley and illustrated by Kamala Nair, these stories are unashamedly sweet, gentle and calming. After all, when you think about it, the last thing a young mind needs at the end of the day is an action-packed, fast-paced tale that might send their minds spinning or, worse still, fretting.
I particularly appreciated the carefully chosen vocabulary, which adds layer after layer of restful imagery, like cosy verbal blankets, decorated with hypnotic flourishes of assonance and alliteration.
Similarly, the illustrations are clear and bold yet still gentle and non-threatening. I don’t think I’ve ever seen books where so many of the characters have their eyes shut or half-closed!
Little Bear and Little Dragon both subtly deal with issues that might provide barriers to sleep.
Little Bear hints at sensory aspects, gently emphasising the need for a snug, cosy and familiar bed, free from distracting physical discomforts. Little Dragon deals with the need for the reassurance and proximity of a good hug from a trusted, loved grown-up.
But what really sets these titles apart is the inclusion of scripted, simple mindfulness-style breathing exercises, carefully crafted to connect the child to the here and now in order to prepare them for sleep.
These can be read by the parent or carer; alternatively, they can use the QR code to access an audio version of both the text and the exercises, together with a simple lullaby.
The optional reward chart to target sleeping all night in their own bed won’t suit every child. However, the overall approach is perfect for creating the very best conditions for helping a little one drift off happily.
For parents who are struggling with their children’s sleep problems, these books could be a dream come true.
● Perfect for young children.
● Promotes the establishment of good bedtime routines.
● Encourages a connected rather than confrontational approach to addressing sleep problems.
● Audio versions model sleep-conducive prosody.
● Interesting application of mindfulness approaches.
…you want to replace bedtime battles with a calm, connected, positive experience for child and adult alike.
Reviewed by: Mike Davies
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