News & Blog

Night Night Sleep Tight: Picture Books to Aid a Calm Bedtime

Oct 24, 2022

We asked author Lucy Rowland to talk about why we teamed up together to launch the Night Night Sleep Tight series of bedtime books by Macmillan. 

When I heard about the opportunity to partner with The Sleep Charity for our Night Night Sleep Tight series of bedtime books, I was immediately excited. As a children’s author, but also as a children’s speech and language therapist, I’ve always understood the importance of books for language development. I learnt too, as I listened to parents’ experiences, of the importance of stories for supporting calm bedtime routines – for creating those feelings of closeness, of familiarity and calm before the lights are switched off and ‘goodnights’ are whispered.

Since becoming a mum myself (to two-year-old Benji and his baby brother Jack), I now experience this first-hand. At the end of a long and tiring day, when bedtime feels like the last big hurdle before I can finally slump on the sofa, it’s books that we turn to again and again. New books, library books, old, familiar, favourite books with ripped pages and curled edges. They signal a time for calm. We cuddle in and we read.

Sometimes we don’t read the whole story, we just talk about the pictures. Sometimes I ask questions (or answer questions from our increasingly inquisitive toddler!). Sometimes I read while Benji listens quietly. Sometimes I read while he drives cars around the room (and me around the bend)! Sometimes we talk about new words, or new emotions, how the characters might be feeling or what might happen next. Balancing both boys’ bedtimes is a challenge, so sometimes baby Jack is with us too – so we feel the textures on the pages and lift the flaps, or Benji ‘reads’ the story to Jack himself. Sometimes we learn and sometimes we laugh.

I was approached by Macmillan Preschool to write Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals when Benji was just six weeks old. We were renting a cottage on a real farm at the time so it seemed like fate and I said ‘yes’ straight away. I loved the idea of ‘tucking in’ the animals during the story and saying ‘night night’ to each one. I loved the countdown element and the use of repetitive language to help soothe and calm.

We have now launched Night Night Sleep Tight: Jungle Animals and in both books the illustrations by Monika Forsberg have blown me away and really bring the books to life. I very much hope that parents, carers and their little ones enjoy these books too – and here’s to calm bedtimes for all of us!