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This Book Will Send Your Kid to Sleep in Minutes ... Or Not

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.

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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.

I got 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.

It 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 it himself.

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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.

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