It's no secret that none of our girls are good sleepers. Never have been – but maybe will be...?
When I first read about Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin's world-renowned book "The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep" I felt hopeful. Recently I experienced that the book had finally been translated into Danish by one of our favourite publisher Alvilda. This was something we could use.
Molly and I tried "The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep" out and wrote a bit about it over at Enfants Terribles Magazine.
As I read the book on my own, my first reaction was: This is yoga! This is meditation! I recalled my own mother using the same techniques as does the book – guiding me through my entire body before sleep time with a calming, gentle, soft voice, telling me to let go of all my thoughts. It worked – and I loved it. Later on as a yoga teacher I adapted this practise to end my classes in a gentle way, always experiencing relaxed, grateful faces afterwards.
It is thus not a new practice that Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin is inventing in his book – but what is new and very useful is that this practise has been wrapped into a child-friendly context where the relaxation is integrated in the story. And so is your own child who you mention by name throughout the story, as a friend of the little rabbit Kalle. This works for Molly: She feels as part of the story and she identifies and sympathizes with Kalle.
But did it work for us – also sleepwise? Are our sleepless nights and my dark circles around the eyes gone? Well, it worked with great success for three nights. Molly fell asleep peacefully in my arms only half way through the book. As I opened the book on the 4th night she kindly said, "no mama, not the rabbit story again". When I asked her why, she cleverly explained: "Because it makes me fall asleep."
So yes – it works! By now, I sneak the rabbit book in when I feel the time is right for it. And all the other nights, I'll do as my mother did and guide my sleep-resistent child through her body, telling her to relax in every part of it, to breathe deeply in and out, and to feel the goodness of sleep.
Thank you Carl-Johan for reminding me about these simple, impactful sleeping tricks – and also for reminding me as a parent about slowing and lowering my voice, being present with my child and giving her comfort in her sleep.
The author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin studied psychology, behaviorism, pedagogy and NLP and these skills shine through the book. The book is the first in a planned series of children's book with an aim to help children (and their parents!) to good sleep and a stronger self-esteem.