Book Review – Nightlights (by Civardi, Petty, Dunbar & Somerville)

Are you searching for stories to read to your preschooler – or primary-schooler at bedtime? For a few years now, we’ve been reading stories from the “Nightlights” collection to our now 5-year old daughter. The first book in the series is a collection of stories designed to “encourage calm, confidence and creativity” according to the authors. In my opinion, the stories certainly fulfill this claim, but also provide an opportunity for you to introduce your child to visualisation.

Visualisation, or guided imagery, is a proactive strategy that encourages a child to  be still and listen and imagine the scenes and stories you are reading aloud to them.

Visualisation is a great way for your child to adopt appropriate relaxation and self-regulation strategies. We know that children who are able to self-regulate and are armed with proactive strategies for problem solving are likely to be more resilient.

I like the Nightlights book because it takes a bit of the hard work out of the equation for us parents, so we can just set ourselves up with our kiddo and read! Sometimes I do casually omit sections or skip over some stories which I think might be problematic for my kiddo. For instance,  I may not want to be reading stories with themes of ‘extended absences’ and ‘saying goodbye’ at bedtime if we’ve just experienced our own situation along those lines. While it is great to talk about these things,  bedtime is not ideal when it is time to quieten the mind.

Otherwise though, I really like this book and have consistently used it for my daughter so much so that it is essentially embedded in our night time routine!

So, if you’re looking for some bedtime stories that might serve the double purpose of connection time at bedtime, as well as providing your kiddo a chance to learn some self-regulation skills, try the Nightlights range!

I’d love to hear of some other books so please comment with your recommendations! I’m always up for extending the library!

Amanda Abel
Amanda Abel

Amanda Abel is a paediatric psychologist, mum and founder of Northern Centre for Child Development – a paediatric centre in Preston. Follow us on facebook and Instagram @amanda.j.abel



Enhancing Resilience in Children: A Proactive Approach. Mary Karapetian Alvord and Judy Johnson Grados, Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 2005, Vol. 36, No. 3, 238 –245

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