15 Calming Bedtime Stories for Kids

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Calm your kids before bedtime with these bedtime stories for kids! Reading calming stories to help them relax makes bedtime so much easier.

Exactly how much do you dread bedtime?

If you’re anything like most of us… I’m guessing the answer is a lot. Bedtime can be pretty draining – especially when the kiddos are going wild.

The key to any successful bedtime routine is of course, STORYTIME.

But not just any story, it needs to be calm stories that will help kiddos RELAX and not get more riled up for play. Because YES, there are stories that can rile kids up (you know, the ones that require you to animate 86 different characters).

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry mama. I got you.

I’ve rounded up an extensive list of some of the best books we’ve read. Some we own, others we have watched read-alouds on YouTube with the kids right at my side. (To which they have now BEGGED ME to buy lots of more books – plan BACKFIRED.)

Rest assured I have checked out the inside of every last book on this list. And they are all pretty dang awesome. So let’s get to it shall we?

goodnight little bear

Goodnight Little Bearby Igloo Books is one of not only my kids’ favorite, but mine as well. It’s the perfect “wind down story” for getting your littles to sleep. It features this sleepy little bear who must go around and say goodnight to his animal friends before his mama takes him home and tucks him into bed.

It ends with mama bear letting little bear know she will watch over him to keep him safe during the night. As we struggle to get my 4yo to feel safe at night, that line has helped her quite a bit. It’s a lovely story and one that we can’t seem to go even one night without reading.

if animals kissed goodnight

If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul is one of the cutest bedtime stories in existence, seriously. The stories goes through all the different animals and what they would do if they kissed goodnight.

My favorite part of the story though is the sloth who STILL kisses goodnight all the way through the story. It’s so cute and PERFECT for reading to littles at bedtime. Just be careful not to get too animated as you tell this one!

bear stays up for christmas

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson is such a fun story for bed – even when it’s not Christmas season! In this story, bear is DETERMINED not to sleep though Christmas so he stays up all night getting ready for Santa with his friends. When Christmas is finally over, he falls asleep and his friends cover him up and sneak away.

sleepy little yoga

Sleepy Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford is a great book to help calm high-energy kids before bed. It features several yoga poses that pertain to bedtime (such as touching your feet up the night sky). These poses are definitely more on the creative side and there’s a full page of just the poses in the back of the book.

If you have a little that you really struggle to calm down before bed, this book will greatly help with that. It’s so calming you might even want to fall asleep yourself!

charlotte and the quiet place

Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin is such a lovely book for kids who are overwhelmed by sound like my little is. In this story, we follow Charlotte as she experiences all kinds of noise around her that she can’t seem to get away from. As we continue, we watch her learn to find her “quiet place” within herself as she practices mindful breathing.

Even if your little doesn’t struggle with noise, this is a great book to help settle them before bed. (Meditation is a great habit to implement before bedtime!)

how to put your parents to bed

How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen is the silliest bedtime story I’ve ever seen. (Just let me be dramatic for a minute, k?) This book is basically a manual for kids to put the parents to bed! And it is HILARIOUS. I love this book so much.

If you want to get a few last giggles out before bed all while creating the “it’s bedtime” mood in the room, this book is GREAT for that! Kids are sure to appreciate this fun story.

shhh! this book is sleeping

Shhh! This Book is Sleeping by Cedric Ramadier is such a sweet bedtime story. Follow the little mouse as he goes through the motions of bedtime – reading the book a story, tucking it in with a cozy blanket, and gently closing the book so it can get some sleep.

This story is too cute and a great book for settling kids down for bed.

just go to bed

Just Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer is a well loved story of little critter not exactly thrilled by the idea of going to bed. He is just far too busy playing! He’s a cowboy, a space cadet, and even a cute little bunny rabbit (and a bunny doesn’t sleep in a bed!). By the end, he finally gets tired enough to admit defeat and fall asleep.

the going to bed book

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton is such a sweet little story for babies and toddlers. It’s such a simple story of all the animals getting ready for bed. Littles are sure to enjoy this cute story before the wind down for bed.

llama llama red pajama

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney is part of our favorite series! These books are so sweet and teach great lessons for kids. This one in particular features baby llama who is scared to be without mama and just a bit impatient. He calls for mama but she has some things to do but will always come back! As she returns to comfort him, he falls right asleep.

a recipe for bedtime

A Recipe for Bedtime by Peter Bently is a cute little story about, well, the recipe for bedtime! Follow along as we put baby to bed with a step-by-step routine, or in this case, a recipe!

penguin & tiny shrimp don’t do bedtime!

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! by Cate Berry is a silly story where we do anything but go to bed! In fact, we go on adventures, sing songs, tell jokes, and even hangout with a super cool uni-hippo (who knew that was a thing?!).

Kids will giggle all the way through – especially if they love to fight bedtime themselves. By the end, we watch all the animals get tired and head off to sleep.

how to catch a unicorn

How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace isn’t the exact definition of a “bedtime story” but let’s go with it, shall we? My littles LOVE this book before bed. It might have something to do with the fact we count unicorns instead of sheep… but.

This story follows this unicorn who is running away from the kids at the zoo trying to catch him! He can’t be caught or he will lose his magic. Thankfully, he has friends to help him along the way!

how do dinosaurs go to sleep?

How Do Dinosaurs Go to Sleep? by Jane Yolen is a cute story from one of our favorite series. In this one, we follow along the dinosaur and learn just exactly how he goes to sleep. (Which does include scrubbing his rubber ducky and brushing his teeth!)

Kids will love this adorable, yet suitable, bedtime story featuring a very cool dinosaur.

the sleepy little alphabet

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra is where we visit alphabet town where all the letters of the alphabet are getting ready for bed! Me and my kids sing ABC’s before bed quite often, so of course I would love this book!

It’s a great bedtime story for toddlers and babies who are learning their ABC’s and winding down for bed. It’s such a cute story, you’ll be pulling it out for bedtime quite often.

What are your favorite calming bedtime stories for kids? Share in the comments below!

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