Parents Reveal How They 'Edit' Bedtime Stories—We Approve

From skipping pages to gender-inclusive modifications, these parents are putting their own twists on their toddlers' favorite board books.

Bedtime with toddlers can be a bit of an adventure. They may want another cup of milk—no wait, make that some water. After two months of snuggling with Teddy, they may suddenly want Bluey. But Bluey is nowhere to be found and hasn't been played with for weeks.

Bedtime stories are a mainstay in many households, but how much actually gets read is up for debate. And that debate is often decided by the tiny human. One parent recently took to Reddit to playfully vent about a really long book about a very limited number of trucks.

"I have a new job," announced u/Night-at-the-Bronze in the toddlers subreddit. "I am now the new editor of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site."

The book is a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller by Sherri Duskey Rinker, and Amazon reviewers hail its gentle, rhyming prose as perfect for bedtime.

This Redditor isn't entirely on board with that idea, though. They don't know what happened to the "previous editor," but they're pretty sure the person quit.

"It is now my duty to carefully and delicately excise parts of the manuscript twice a day depending on my toddler's mood, need to unwind, and how long ago he should have been in bed," the Redditor continued.

It's a tall task—the board book is 30 pages.

"Seriously though, that book is about two trucks too long."

Others could relate.

"I know it word for word. I wish I could say we only read it twice a day, but the number is far greater than that. Other top favorites include B is for Bulldozer and Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night."

One user had a sneaky suggestion.

"Someone gave my kid The 12 Days of Dinosaurs…you're supposed to repeat those names over and over, and they're not the easy ones. It got 'lost,'" wrote another.

But others shared they also put the editor's cap on when they want to promote gender inclusivity.

An image of fathers reading a bedtime story to their daughter.
Getty Images.

"Editor is an important job. Like saying, 'said Mummy Pig' instead of 'Daddy Pig' in the Peppa books because she never has any lines," replied the top commenter in part.

"I change up all the pronouns in Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site because all the machines are he/him, and the trades have enough of a gender disparity issue as is," someone else commented.

"I have to edit some of the How Do Dinosaur books to make them more gender-inclusive. Not only males have dogs and not only females have cats, so I change all of the gendered pronouns to 'their,'" said another.

There are also many gender-inclusive books for kids of all ages, including toddlers.

As for getting your kid to go to bed faster, experts share it can be challenging for children ages 1 to 3 to wind down at night. The world is still so new to them, and they're excited to explore. If a child is consistently cranky at the end of the day, it may be a sign they need an earlier bedtime. Though bedtimes vary, caregivers should typically tuck their toddlers in by 6 to 8 p.m.

Consistent nap and bedtimes, loveys, and bedtime stories can all help a toddler fall asleep faster—just try to remember changes to storylines because no one wants to deal with a tired and disgruntled toddler.

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