Professor Harriet Hiscock has worked as a consultant paediatrician for over 20 years, dedicating her career to improving sleep in babies and children.

Using evidence-based strategies developed over 20 years, she and her team have created a series of six children’s books, designed as a fun and friendly way to learn to manage common sleep problems in children.

Through the stories, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) shares their knowledge about common sleep problems in children and how to manage them.

The new story series from MCRI comprises: A Beach In The Bedroom, Pick Your Own Nose, Marshmallow Puffins At The Window, Slug Dad And Monster Mum, Has Dad Joined The Circus? and The Old Bedtime Pass Puncher. Dynamic storytellers Tamala Shelton and Roby Favretto bringing the stories of Kip and their friends to life.

Each story features a character called Kip, a mascot for the series developed by MCRI, to promote sleep and offer guidance around good sleep habits for all families. Story Box Library spoke with Professor Harriet Hiscock on the origins of Kip, the MCRI story series, and what it means for the wellbeing of families and children. 

“Kip is our pillow who is going to help parents and kids understand a bit more about what is healthy and normal sleep. And if they are experiencing sleep problems, how to get to sleep, and stay asleep,” Harriet says.

“I’ve been practising as a consultant paediatrician for 30 years, and have always been passionate about taking a common problem, and looking at the best way to manage it and then start to do that work to support families.”

Of the MCRI story series development, Harriet explains how evidence-based strategies for healthy sleep practices have informed each book, framed in unique and fun ways for children to understand. In addition, the stories provide real examples and tools for parents to put to use, aiding everyone in getting a good night’s sleep.

“The joy of this, is this brings these strategies into children’s stories so it’s fun for them - it taps into what might motivate kids,” Harriet explains.

“We’ve tried to think about this from the point of view of the child, and make it fun and make it engaging, which hopefully will help better health and wellbeing, and that of their parents as well.

“We hope that this sets kids up with the idea of a healthy sleep for life.”

With poor sleep affecting children’s energies throughout the day, ability to play, manage their emotions, socialise and learn, the MCRI story series is an important tool for families everywhere, with far-reaching benefits throughout the lifespan.

“Sleep problems are common across age groups, not just kids but teenagers.

"Middle age people, older age people struggle getting to sleep and staying asleep,” Harriet says.

“So these are fun but evidence-based healthy strategies that can hopefully set them up with good habits for life, but also if they become parents and have their own children.”

The MCRI series will be available to watch for free via the Story Box Library website, launching early 2022. Keep an eye out on the Story Box Library Instagram and Facebook pages for news and updates.

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