“Sleep deprivation is the most common complaint I hear from parents of young children… But the solution doesn’t need to be complicated regimes or expensive gizmos. A routine as simple as bath, book, bed can get young children to settle so that everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep.” – Jo Frost.
Parenting expert Jo Frost (aka Super Nanny) is under no illusion that she created the ‘Bath Book Bed’ routine, but with over 20 years of nannying experience under her belt she knows that it works, which is why the BookTrust have teamed up with Jo and made her their Global Ambassador for the new campaign launched this week.
Bath Book Bed is a national campaign (initiated by BookTrust) to encourage parents to make stories a part of every child’s bedtime routine. After all, there’s nothing quite like snuggling with your little person and reading a book after a busy day.
BookTrust surveyed one thousand parents with children aged three and under, and discovered that the top concern for parents was getting their children to sleep at night – with over 80% of parents saying that lack of sleep is the hardest part of being a parent (nodding in agreement over here – see the Chronic Sleep Deprivation section of the blog!). Some even claimed they would pay more than £10k to put an end to the sleepless nights!
We implemented the Bath Book Bed routine with Busby from a very early age, and she’s generally been a good sleeper for most of her life. H-Bear is a whole different kettle of fish, and it’s only fairly recently that he’s stopped sleeping in the sling in the evenings (due to his reflux), and we’ve introduced the same routine for him.
I was invited along with a small group of fellow parenting bloggers to meet Jo this week and discuss the campaign. I also gleaned some great tips from our conversation to help create a relaxing ‘Bath Book Bed’ routine, which I’ll be sharing below.
Our chat with Jo was hosted at The Library in London (the most divine venue! I was completely in awe of the decor – especially the copper sink in the bar area), and we were treated to brunch and mimosas, which was appreciated after the 6am start from Yorkshire!
I was curious to see what Jo would be like in real life, as obviously her TV persona is slightly hyped up for drama, but she was incredibly down to earth and friendly, and made us all feel at ease. She’s definitely a larger than life character, and ever-so passionate about what she does – and wow, she’s good at it too! We kept her on her toes with our questions, but she was firing out answers left, right and centre about our sleep issues, and they all made a lot of sense.
The ‘Bath Book Bed’ routine is tried and tested. Here are a few tips:
- Have a good 15-20 minutes of playtime before you start the bedtime routine. Especially if you’ve been at work and haven’t seen the children all day. Give the children your full attention. Put away any technology and do a puzzle, or draw together, or just run around the garden shouting and singing (this is what usually happens in our house…).
- Begin the bedtime routine an hour before bed, and don’t rush – especially while you’re trying to establish the routine. Once established, as long as you keep to the basics, then the children will recognise you’re in the routine.
- Get everything ready for bedtime before you get in the bath – get pjs out, prepare milk etc, so you’re not rushing off and disturbing your child winding down.
- Enjoy bath time! Have fun! Sing songs and get your children to exert the last of their energy.
- Create a relaxed peaceful environment for post-bath time. Turn off all background noise. Close blinds/curtains. Be tactile with your child – massage is good.
- Read books! You all know this already, but not only are books fantastic for literacy and imagination, but they’re wonderful for creating a moral compass and learning about different cultures etc. Reading to babies is equally as important as reading to toddlers and pre-schoolers.
- If you have more than one child, get the eldest involved by asking them to choose the book, or asking them to read to the youngest. This creates a bedtime ritual that children will look forward to.
All of the above should set your little person up for quality sleep. Jo also recommended creating a daytime routine to support the bedtime, for example, reading books together, three meals a day at set times, dedicated playtime without distractions.
Overall, it’s about trusting your instinct – as Jo said on Tuesday “You know what you know”, and although she isn’t a parent herself, I believe that she really does understand how children (and adults!) work.
BookTrust are asking parents to sign up to their ’14 days to better sleep’ trial if they’re not already in the Bath Book Bed routine. See for yourself how it can help your family and get exclusive content with daily tips and advice: Sign up here.
A huge thank you to Jo Frost for the informative session and to BookTrust for the fantastic goodie bag. Busby is now completely besotted by Supertato and it’s all we’ve been allowed to read (on repeat) this week…
*Collaborative post. All views and opinions expressed are my own.*