Swedish behavioral psychologist and linguist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is becoming a hero for parents everywhere.
His book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, purports to use psychological tricks and positive reinforcement techniques to lure children into a dreamy, relaxing sleep. The book contains cues for the parents — like yawning or speaking in a slow cadence — that are designed to get the child to mimic the this behavior.
Originally written in Swedish, the 26-page book has now been translated into seven languages and is reportedly the best-selling self-published book in the history of Amazon.
For parents who know the struggles of putting a child to bed, this book may be a revelation. Amazon reviews and testimonials on Ehrlin's website back his claim that the book works.
"I'm actually speechless!" one parent wrote on Amazon. "I sat here waiting for someone to pinch me. Bedtime just went from taking 2-3 hours to taking 12mins. We made it to the middle of page 2."
But parents have some questions...
For parents who might feel it's deceptive to use a book that is designed to induce sleep, Ehrlin explains that the book is meant to turn a child's imagination and focus towards relaxing and sleeping.
"As a parent you always have to help the child do things with the help of imagination and some positive reinforcements to create a new behavior," he wrote on his website. "This book is just like that, a help to get the child to focus on sleep and relaxation with the help of imagination."
Roger the rabbit:
Ehrlin adds that the story gives suggestions to "the child's unconscious mind to sleep." Using some simple instructions in the beginning of the book (like reading italicized words slowly), Ehrlin teaches parents how to read it and maximize the effect it can have on a child in bed. Despite the book containing pictures, Ehrlin also encourages parents to read to their child rather than read with the child, a practice that is also intended to maximize the book's effect.
So what's next? Ehrlin plans to introduce a follow-up book that teaches children to use the toilet, incorporating the same basic premise of tapping into their unconscious behavior patterns. For now, parents can only dream.