Toddler Bedtime Book Review and Craft Activity: “Close Your Eyes”

My 2-year-old has hit yet another sleep regression. Although he’s been “sleep-trained” since 5 months, suddenly needs rocked to sleep again.

If he is even slightly awake when I put him in his bed, he will climb out, open his door, and run around the house like a crazy person.

Desperate to develop a new bedtime routine that doesn’t take 2 hours each night, I hit up the library, searching for a book to help him understand why it’s okay to go to bed by yourself.

Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks

This book features a young tiger who does not want to go to bed because he can’t see all the things he loves during the day. In the story, the mother tiger talks to the cub, explaining how dreams can sometimes be better than reality and soothing him to sleep.

I’ve read this book to my son for a few nights now. I tell him to close his eyes like the tiger and think about the things we did that day. He is pretty reluctant to close his eyes which is normal for two-year olds who need control over their bodies.

He loves to look at the artwork which is very dream-like.He does listen intently to the story and seems to understand what dreams are. I think this book is helping him become less fearful of going to sleep.

I love books that help kids understand the world around them. Toddlers naturally learn through doing.

Coloring a picture or making a simple craft based on a story can help solidify the messages found in books. Activities make great conversation starters!

The main character in this book is a tiger. I found a printable activity of a tiger. I modified this activity a bit by printing the pattern on orange construction paper.

I showed my son how to tear black paper into small strips and apply a glue stick in straight lines on the tiger’s body.

We used a disappearing purple glue stick which made it easier for him to see where he was making his lines. Tearing paper and using a glue stick is great for fine motor skill development!

I cut out the tiger pieces while my son happily tore black construction paper into strips to make the tiger’s stripes. I read him the story again while he glued stripes on the tiger.

At bedtime, we put the tiger to bed and talked about closing our eyes like the tiger. We talked about what the tiger might dream and what he might dream.

This was the first night in two weeks he didn’t immediately crawl out of his bed! I’ll take this experience as my parenting win for the month! You can find the printable here.

What are some books that have helped your children learn important lessons? Comment below!

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