We wanted to share some of our own tips for how we've learnt the hard way over the years how to help our children with their bedtime routine making it tear-free all round. It hasn't always been easy as it took a long time to establish a routine with our eldest. Miss T has benefited from the things we tried and tested with the older two and she has had the best bedtime routine of all three of them so we know that routine, combined with an early love of books, really does work.
We've come up with 3 extra tips that have helped us along the way. The important role of #BathBookBed fits in well with our extra 3 tips as you will see. With books being such an important part of bedtime in our family, we thought that we'd make a scrapbook of our own to tell the story....
Our top three tips can be summarised with 3 C's helping our kids to catch their zzzz's.
Cosiness - As adults we all think of a nice bubbly bath as a time to relax. I think it's the same for young children. As long as they enjoy bathtime, a warming bath is a lovely way to wind down and relax at the end of the day.
The reality of our busy lives means that bathtime is not possible each and everyday so we like to think of 'cosiness' instead - other ways to help relax at bedtime. So Miss T has soft lighting in her bedroom and a big comfy chair to sit on and read books. We've noticed that reading books in a sleepy quiet tone of voice with a few yawns thrown in really helps with winding down and feeling sleepy and ready for bed. A trick we learnt from the book 'The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep'.
We've found a baby sleeping bag really useful in helping her feel cosy at bedtime (did you know they do sizes up to age 10!!!). Checking the temperature of her room with a room thermometer to make sure she doesn't get too hot or too cold at night also helps.
Comforters - Miss T has had two cuddly toys from a very young age. We noticed early on when she was just a few months old that she liked to have a cuddly toy near her face at bedtime. So we bought her safedreams Hoppy and Patch cuddly toys which are made from breatheable materials.
She cuddles them whilst reading bedtime stories so they have well and truly become part of the bedtime routine.
They've become her comforters through the night. She also sucks her thumb which I know isn't a great habit but it is only at bedtime (mainly) and it does help her fall asleep.
Characters - My children have all loved books from a very early age. One of the things that has helped them look forward to bedtime is recognising their favourite book characters on bedtime related items like Pyjamas, cuddly toys and bedding. For example, Miss T adores reading Peppa Pig books as part of her bedtime routine, and she looks forward to bedtime knowing she'll get to wear her Peppa Pig nightie.
A couple of her book collections, like her Peppa Pig set of books and some of her Miffy books, came with a little bag which makes them perfect for taking with you. So when she had her 6 night hospital stay in unfamiliar surroundings a couple of weeks ago, she was able to keep part of her bedtime routine more constant by having her sets of books with her to read at bedtime.
One last point I really think is important to remember - even with a routine, we sometimes occasionally have special reasons for the routine to go out the window - and that is ok. Perhaps a relative's birthday or an outing that's taken us through to the evening, or a train delay coming home from one of Miss T's hospital appointments in London. Sometimes nice things, sometimes unavoidable things, but nonetheless a change to the routine. It's easy to get stressed about it, but staying calm is going to help more than stressing out. There may not be time for the bath or a book on those occasions, but just staying as calm as possible will help children feel calmer and more settled too. Then just pick up the routine again the next day.
So that is our #BathBookBed routine with our own little twists to help our children get to bed and get to sleep.
|We all love to read - Here we are with a few of our favourite books!|
Find out more about Booktrusts #BathBookBed initiative here.
Update: After writing up this blogpost yesterday, today we have received a lovely #BathBookBed bundle from Booktrust which includes some of their recommended bedtime reading books. Their Best Bedtime Books list can be found here. And having read these wonderful books that we were sent, we wholeheartedly agree that they are great books to use as part of the #BathBookBed routine. Thank you Booktrust for such a lovely bundle!
This is our entry into the #BathBookBed blogger challenge.