For parents, the word "bedtime" can be the alarm call for a war zone of tantrums, screaming and excuses – far from the restful experience that every parent dreams of. So, you can imagine that a book promising to send the kids to sleep when read aloud would top the Amazon book charts.
"The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep" is the book, written by Swedish behavioral psychologist Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, that claims to do just this. While there are pictures, the child is just supposed to listen.
There are instructions on how to read the book most effectively: sections in italics are read in a slow, calm voice, parents are asked to yawn frequently, and certain words are emphasized. The book is repetitive, emphasizing words like "tired" and "sleep."
"It helps the child to focus and makes them a part of the story so that they fall asleep along with the rabbit," said Forssén Ehrlin. "It helps the child to focus and makes them a part of the story so that they fall asleep along with the rabbit. They meet characters like Uncle Yawn and the Heavy-Eyed Owl."
He commented that he has written books in the past to do with leadership and personal development, but thought that he could repurpose some of his methods to help children relax. "It took another three and a half years to come up with the perfect story so that all the techniques were used in the correct order."
Suffice to say, the reviews on Amazon are fairly mixed. They range from parents praising it as a wonder cure for restless children to parents dismissing the book as ineffective.
No studies have been done yet, so if the book does work, then there is not a lot of information about the why and how. But if it does work, then there are some interesting questions to examine. Would a voice recording work just as well as an adult that is present in the room? Does reading the same book work in the long term? Is it the book itself that is effective or is it the slight change in attitude from the parent who believes that they will have a stress-free bedtime?
Image in text: Image from the front cover of "The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep." Irina Maununen.