Ahhh … bedtime. It’s a never-ending battle between parent and child. There are countless reasons why kids can’t go to sleep (or stay asleep). They are hungry. They are thirsty. One leg is longer than the other. There is a lump in the blanket. But perhaps one of the most common reasons children can’t sleep is because they are scared of the dark.
Putting a story into the bedtime routine can help tired tots wind down and prepare them for sleep. Easing little minds with a bedtime book that tackles the thing that’s worrying them can help them understand. Relatable, encouraging and entertaining, these stories set the pace for a peaceful sleep.
Here are our top picks for bedtime books about being scared of the dark.
Orion and the Dark
Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett is a captivating bedtime story about a little boy named Orion who faces his fears and agrees to go on an adventure with the very scary Dark. Yarlett manages to humanise Dark, transforming him into a delightful character, which is a great way to help children overcome their fears.
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth is a comforting bedtime book, perfect for smaller children struggling with sleep-time fears. Soothing and engaging, the tale about Little Bear is like a lullaby and a comforting hug all rolled into one.
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep
Tell me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar and Debi Gliori is another cute tale for your bedtime bunnies. Not only does the story explain why darkness is nothing to be afraid of, it focuses on the loving relationship between a brother and sister (especially great for all households where sibling bonding isn’t a strong point).
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson has captured the hearts of countless children. Bears and bunnies aren’t the only critters afraid of the dark; owls are too! This gentle and humorous book about Owl’s quest to overcome this fear is sure to give you a giggle and ease your drowsy dreamer into a comforting snooze.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen is children’s lit at its best. Insightful, poetic and beautifully illustrated, this is a great one for literature lovers, big and small. No more being scared of the dark after this book.
Mika the Bear is Afraid of the Dark
Mika the Bear is Afraid of the Dark by Nicolas Duffaut and Yann Walcker teaches children an important lesson about how to overcome fear of the dark – turn on a light! Simple, yes, but this storybook with its torch-wielding hero may be just the inspiration your little one needs to be brave, turn on their own light (and resist the urge to crawl into your bed).
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diesen is an excellent option for toddlers and preschoolers struggling with the scary dark. Little ones can swim along with Mr. Fish as he challenges the great unknown and faces his fear of the dark.
Little Owl’s Night
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan is not only engaging but also educational, helping children understand the sights, sounds and creatures of the dark and to discover that dark is actually pretty cool.
There’s a Nightmare in My Closet
There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer is a classic from our own childhoods and one that you may want to dig out and revisit. This book is especially great for kids who are not only afraid of the dark but also other bedtime phobias like the Boogeyman and monsters.
Now that you’ve conquered the fear of the dark, it may be time to have a go at other bedtime woes, like getting your night time ninjas to sleep in their own beds.