If you’ve read my blog before then you may well be aware that I have not been blessed with children who like to sleep. In fact if we include the sleeplessness induced by pregnancy then I am probably looking at about four years now of broken sleep. So when we were invited to the Trafford Centre in Manchester last week for the launch of BookTrust‘s Bath Book Bed campaign with their ambassador Jo Frost I was eager to go along and see if we could get some help!
BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and they work to inspire a love of reading in children. They also know that lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of being a parent and that getting them to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges. And that’s why they have teamed up with parenting expert Jo Frost to try and help some of those sleep deprived parents. They’re also getting a little help from Peppa Pig too!
The name of the campaign, Bath Book Bed, is kind of self-explanatory but at the event Jo explained how the same simple routine every night helps our children to feel safe and secure, and therefore much more likely to go to sleep easily, and hopefully stay asleep!
I was a bit apprehensive about taking both the boys to the Trafford Centre on my own (especially seeing as I had been struck down by tonsillitis the day before) but we got there without too much trouble and after grabbing a sneaky milk shake from Five Guys we made our way to the stage area. The lovely people from BookTrust had set up some little tables with crayons and Peppa Pig colouring to do so the boys were happy to play while I took a few photos and the crowds gathered.
There were quite a lot of people there with their little ones – sleep is obviously a big issue for lots of parents! After a chat on stage with Chelsea Norris from BBC Radio Manchester to explain the idea behind the Bath Book Bed routine Jo was able to answer some questions from the audience.
One point that came up was that a lot of people (us included) don’t bath their children every night. Jo explained that an actual bath isn’t an essential part of the routine but that if you aren’t giving your child a bath then having a wash, cleaning teeth and getting ready for bed can still mark the start of bedtime. She also suggested letting them play with some bath toys in the sink rather than the bath if you prefer.
Toby and Gabe both love books and a story (or two or three) has been part of Toby’s bedtime routine for a long time now. Toby actually falls asleep pretty quickly after his stories now but getting Gabe to sleep is another matter altogether! Although he loves looking at books during the day it hasn’t been a part of his bedtime routine before. Usually we just get him ready for bed then he has his milk and one of us has to sit with him until he falls asleep – which at the moment usually takes at least an hour!
So, as he is now old enough to actually sit and listen to a story, we have introduced a book to Gabe’s bedtime routine too. Since hearing about the Bath Book Bed campaign last week we have been getting both boys ready for bed together and then all having a story in our bed before one of us takes Gabe off for his milk, and the other stays with Toby for another story.
If I’m honest it hasn’t made much difference in the amount of time it takes Gabe to get to sleep so far but we’ll stick with it and hopefully we’ll see an improvement soon!
If you want to find out more about BookTrust and their Bath Book Bed campaign then you can visit their website where you can download their new 16 page booklet full of top tips and advice for a better night’s sleep, along with a Best Bedtime Books list. The booklet is also available in print from libraries and children’s centres.
We were given a lovely book after attending the event – Goodnight Peppa – which Toby has really been enjoying, despite having never seen Peppa Pig on TV. He wasn’t so keen on meeting Daddy Pig though – and was actually having a bit of a meltdown just out of shot here!
Do you have a set bedtime routine? Does bath, book, bed work for you or something different? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…
*Disclosure: We were invited to the BookTrust event and I have been compensated for my time. As always all opinions are my own.