I had to have it. It seemed like everyone was
talking about it overnight. Everyone was doing it.
What's "it" you might ask? Well, that would be a new 26-page book
called "The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep" by Swedish behavioral
psychologist and linguist Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin. As a verbal equivalent of rocking your child to sleep, it promises to lull your
child to sleep in minutes, or at most, by the end of the book. And it's most effective in children between 2.5 and 9.
Something that would make my 4-year-old go to sleep?! I was
in. My 4-year-old never wants to go to sleep. Our night time routine consists
of brush teeth, read books, sing songs and then he has a party in his room
for the remainder of the night. We usually hear him conk out about an hour (or
three) after we've tucked him in and said good night.
So a book that promised to send him to la-la land with ease? I
couldn't order it fast enough.
The book relies on psychological
and positive reinforcement techniques to get your child ready for sleep. So,
basically, mind control. Within the text, your child is repeatedly told that it
is time to go to sleep, that he/she has no worries, and that he/she is very
sleepy. The adult reading the book is instructed, through the use of bold and
italicized words, to either emphasize certain words, or to say certain passages
in a calm, soothing voice. There are even prompts to yawn.
my 4-year-old into his bed, ready for him to go to sleep as I finished the
book. I did as the book instructed. I used emphasis where the book told me to
use emphasis. I spoke slowly and calmly where the book told me to. I even
yawned on cue.
Not only was he awake, but he walked out into the hallway and had a party with an Etch a Sketch.
was a colossal failure. My son didn't fall asleep as I was reading. He didn't
even fall asleep (as promised) by the last page of the book. Hell, he wasn't even tired! After I left his
room, not only was he awake, but he walked out into the hallway and had a party
with an Etch a Sketch. He was fascinated that the book had his name in it
(adults are instructed to insert their child's name where it says to do so),
but when I couldn't actually show him his name, and instead directed him to the
line that said [name], he thought it best to get out an Etch a Sketch and write
The book though did work on some level. It made me
EXHAUSTED. The repeated prompts of "you will fall asleep, now" made me, well, want
to fall asleep, now. It's basically like a form of hypnosis ("you are getting
very sleeeeeeeeeeeppppppppyyyyyyy!") designed to work on children. (I'm not sure what that says about me. I must have a very weak mind.)
I fell for
this one even quicker than I would a bottle of snake oil.
But I guess I should be proud that
my 4-year-old does not give into mind control.