- This book is written with a fun-to-hear rhythm and can be a creative solution to a common problem. What common problem? Getting a young child to sleep in his/her own bed ALL night. This bedtime story encourages kids to sleep in their own beds with the reward of a visit from the good night fairy. The illustrations are beautiful, the words are catchy, and the kids are in their own beds. Genius!
-- Ashley B.; Elementary School Teacher, mother of one
A Visit from the Good Night Fairy
Every parent is familiar with the problem, and so is every kid. Falling asleep is just half of the battle; the other part is staying in your own bed all night. It’s a common struggle that Renée Frances revisits in her recently published children’s book, A Visit from the Good Night Fairy. In this short, tenderly told and beautifully illustrated text, a young child anxiously asks mom to alleviate fears about sleeping alone (“leave the door open”, “stay with me”). To allay her child’s concerns, mom spins a fantastical tale about the Good Night Fairy, a luminous, winged, red-haired sprite, said to protect youngsters while they sleep, and even leave gifts for them. The story is enough to send junior off to the Land of Nod, which means mom can get some much needed shuteye herself. But after awakening earlier than her child the next morning, what does mom see? The very same Good Night Fairy she spoke about the night before, congratulating the still-dozing youngster on sleeping through the night. It’s a story worth retelling – especially if you have a child between the ages of 1-4 – who is having trouble sleeping in their own bed for the fi rst time. - Chris Morgan
> Renée Frances, illustrations by Romaine Tacey
> Friesen Press, 2014 • 22 pages
If you have a toddler who just won’t sleep well – who’s popping in and out of bed like a jack-in-the-box at bedtime, for instance, or who still wakes frequently at night, or who just won’t take long, restorative, consistent naps, despite your best efforts – then odds are you’re feeling at your wit’s end, and are looking for any (ANY) ideas that’ll help you get your toddler sleeping better.
Well, look no further! Today, Renee Frances, author of the adorable Good Night Fairy book series, is here with us today, sharing 5 key facts that will help even the most sleepless of toddlers get the rest they need. Read on to learn more about these 5 keys, and to learn how you can enter to win one of 6 copies of Renee’s award-winning book, A Visit From the Good Night Fairy!
5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep
Your toddler will be more relaxed if she knows what is going to happen next. Predictable schedules and a bedtime routine will set the tone, and help your child to ‘wind down’ before settling into bed. To help your toddler’s body secrete that special ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin, dim the lights and shut off all screens about an hour before you begin your family’s bedtime routine. Ideally, your child’s bed time should not only allow her to get adequate sleep; it should ideally allow you and your partner or spouse a few hours of ‘down time’ without the pitter-patter of little feet.
Deep breathing (with focused attention on your breath) is a relaxation exercise that is recognized by the National Sleep Foundation as helpful for people who suffer from insomnia. Interestingly, many children practice ‘deep breathing’ naturally; their chest and bellies naturally expand with each breath. You can help your toddler intentionally practice deep breathing by having them inhale slowly through their nose, holding their breath for a few moments, then exhale through the mouth. This practice should be as “un-forced” and natural as possible.
Your child is less likely to be anxious at night if he knows that his surroundings remain unchanged even when the lights are off. Simply installing a nightlight can resolve your little one’s fear of the dark. Sometimes, however, the shadows may be worrisome because their shapes are somewhat unexpected or unfamiliar. To help illustrate the concept that shadows are ‘what happen when light can’t go through an object’, you can show your child how to make a ‘shadow puppet’ with a flashlight and your (or his) hand, or some favourite toys. Show him how the length of the shadow changes with the angle of the light hitting the object. By taking the mystery out of ‘the dark’, you may help your child feel less fearful.
Positive self-talk and its counterpart, positive thinking, correlate stronglywith many important health benefits, including lower levels of distress, lower levels of depression, and greater psychological and physical well-being. Teaching your child the skill of approaching a challenging or unpleasant situation (and for some toddlers, bedtime is just that!) in a more positive way can have both immediate benefits and long-term effects. Guiding your child through some positive self-talk at bedtime can be an effective tool to help your ‘reluctant sleeper’ to sleep well through the night and have a happier tomorrow.
Offering rewards as incentives increases the likelihood of a desired behaviour. Rewards are particularly effective for individuals who are reluctant to perform a ‘target’ behaviour – like a toddler who’s reluctant to go to bed! If the behaviour that you desire is for your child to sleep through the night on her own, reward that behaviour when it happens. In preparation, your child should know that staying in her own room throughout the night may result in a reward.
- Consistency is Calming
- Deep Breathing is Relaxing
- Awareness of Surroundings Decreases Anxiety
- Positive Self-Talk Reduces Stress
- Rewards Increase the Likelihood of Desired Behaviours
How A Visit From The Good Night Fairy Can Help Your Toddler Sleep
A Visit from the Good Night Fairy weaves all 5 of these key facts throughout the storyline, making it a great bedtime tool for your toddler This clever and engaging tale unfolds with a typical night in the life of a young family, whose little one seems to have some common night time fears. This night is special, however, because after waking up early and finding her child still in his own bed, Mommy has a chance encounter with the “Good Night Fairy” herself, who places a small gift at the foot of the still-sleeping child’s bed!
You can use the themes in this story to your advantage. Be prepared to reward your child the on the very first occasion that he successfully sleeps through the night on his own. The reward should something that your toddler enjoys (e.g., a sticker or a coin), and it can be left for him at the foot of the bed (as the Good Night Fairy does), under the pillow, or even near the bedroom door, if you are afraid your child may wake up if you enter the room.
To ensure that your child understands the connection between sleeping through the night and the gift from the Good Night Fairy (named REMy, after the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep), reward the first two or three nights that he successfully sleeps through on his own (this is known as a Continuous Schedule of Reinforcement). After a few nights, switch to a Partial Schedule of Reinforcement, during which your toddler will need to sleep two (or three) nights in a row before receiving a reward. Partial schedules of reinforcement use fewer resources, are very effective, and more likely to help your toddler make sleeping through the night a permanent habit. (Note that it’s important that your child does not receive a reward unless he actually sleeps through the night on his own.)
After your child is sleeping on his own for 5-7 consecutive nights, leave your child with a note from ‘REMy’, congratulating him for being such a ‘big kid’. The Good Night Fairy might add that she will still make sure that your child is safe and well through the night, but will no longer leave gifts (which are for children who really need the REMy’s help).
Most every parent can relate to those long, exhausting night spend trying to get a young child to sleep in their own room.
It's something that author Renee Frances knows all too well from firsthand experience. But in the spirit of making lemonade when your'e given lemons, she has taken that and turned it into A Visit fromt he Good Night Fairy, a children's book she wrote.
The inspiration came out from the experience of transitioning her dauther Olivia from the nursery to her 'big-girl room' when Frances and her husband Frank were expecting their second child, Abigail.
"She just would not stay inthere to save my life. She was up maybe six of seven time a night, meaning maybe I would get hald an hour of sleep at a time," she said during a break from a recent busy Sunday promoting the tale. "So one late night I couldn't get back to sleepIt was about three in the morning and I started writing because it's cathartic, and a story unfolded."
Self-published by the author through Friesen Press, Frances also hopes to be able to share with other writers some of the wisdom gleaned through the process of taking her idea from pen on paper to the printed page.
"I'm finding the mre that I'm out there, the more people come to me and ask about self-publishing," said Frances. "I'm seeing that a lot of people have great ideas for a book. They want to get them out there because they will be useful and they don't know how to crack the nut of he (publishing) establishment."
Describing it as a very interesting journey with a really steep learning curve, Frances said at many times she feld a lot like Alice in Wonderland chasing the rabbit. Pointing out "hald of them are landmines and money pits," she said one of the biggest hcallenges is trying to secide which rabbit hole to go down.
But maybe the most important thing of all to keep in mind, said Frances, who is now working on her second book, The Good Night Fairy Helps Via Change Her Dream, is not to expect things to happen overnight.
"Rome wasn't build in a day, I keep telling meyself that all the time. It's going to feel like an uphill battle. You're going to have doubts about it, but if you believe in your book and you think that it's worth putting it out there and that people need it, can use it, and will love it - keep at it."
Sometimes inspiration is born from the unlikeliest situations and Renee Frances, author of the Mom's Choice Award-Winning book, "A Visit from the Good Night Fairy," proves to be true.
The idea for her debut book came from her daughters' sleep issues, a trial all parents can relate to. "My daughter, Olivia, was having a hard time adjusting to sleeping in her own bed at night," Frances explains. Upon speaking to her own mother about Olivia's sleep difficulties, she remarked, "It sounds like Olivia needs a visit from the Good Night Fairy."
Her concept is similar to that of the Tooth Fairy: once Olivia sleeps through the night on her own, a gift from the Good Night Fairy could be left in order to reward and reinforce her positive sleep habits.
The series even has the stamp of approval from sleep experts, including Dr. Steward Fogel at the University of Western Ontario's sleep lab, who says: "The Good Night Fairy series is a collection of wonderful stories that will help make bedtime a positive experience for both parents and children alike!" Additionally, the authors of Oneironautics: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming are working on an afterword for the second book in the series, "The Good Night Fairy Helps Via Change Her Dream."
Frances is working on a March post for www.babysleepsite.com and is also in partnership with Curiosity Bos (www.curiositybox.ca) to make a sleep themed box. There is also a colouring book on its way, as well as two more books in the series: the aforementioned "The Good Night Fairy Helps Via Change Her Dream" and "The Good Night Fairy: Alpha Helps Avery Fall Asleep."
"The Good Night Fairy" can be purchased at Chapters/Indigo stores, The Been Garden in London, Amazon.ca, and through the book's publisher, FriesenPress. For further information, please also visit www.goodnighfairy.ca