You know that amazing feeling when you crawl into bed at night, fall straight to sleep and then wake up feeling totally refreshed and alive the next morning?! Nope, me either. For me, it’s more like squeezing into bed beside the world’s wriggliest toddler whilst praying to the sleep goddesses for at least four hours that night. I’ll just be nodding off and I hear the all too familiar elephant-like steps of the five year old as she enters our room and burrows in wherever she can. Thank goodness for super king beds. For me, the lack of sleep is most definitely the hardest part of being a parent. From those newborn perma-feeding nights to toddler night terrors to school worries, it never seems to get any easier. It is estimated that new parents on average lose around 650 hours of sleep per year – that is a staggering 81 full nights sleeps. No wonder my concealer consumption is through the roof.
It’s no secret that both of my babies have always been the most terrible sleepers. We are very much go with the flow parents, doing whatever necessary for a peaceful life. The one consistent routine we do have in place is the bath, book, bed. Although these two little beasts rarely spend an entire night sleeping, those three simple steps help them wind down and get ready for at least some sleep, whichever bed that happens to be in. Sleep is so vital for growth and mental wellbeing and we encourage rest in the best way we can. Our family bedtimes look a little something like this…
Throw two grubby children in super bubbly bath for some seriously splashy fun. We always add a few drops of lavender essential oil to our bath. Lavender is amazing for aiding sleep and goodness knows we need it. Bath time is a time for catching up on the day’s events. Nora tells us stories from her school day, punctuated with pretending to be a water fountain while Woody practices his favourite animal sounds, ‘cos bathroom acoustics.
After we’ve dried and dressed both children, we all hop into the big bed for a bedtime story or three. More recently Nora has taken a lead in reading – she is such an avid and able reader and we are so, so proud of this. I think it almost certainly stems from bedtime reading. Reading encourages development of their imagination and vocabulary and builds their knowledge of the world around them. All that plus an excuse for snuggles in bed can surely only be a positive thing. Once we’ve had our big bed stories, Nora heads off to her own room with her Daddy to read ‘a big girl book’ (she is currently working her way through the Roald Dahl collection) and Woody and I settle down to sleep in the big bed.
We are so delighted to be working with The BookTrust on continuing with their super successful Bath, Book, Bed campaign this year. Their aim is to help families like ours create a soothing, routined bedtime with a focus on books. Books are such a vital part of any child’s education and by encouraging reading for pleasure from a young age, we can inspire a lifetime of love for reading and learning. You can get your hands on one of these super helpful bedtime advice books filled with tips on introducing the perfect bedtime routine here. It even features tips from good old parenting pro Daddy Pig himself. You can also find a roundup of the best bedtime books over at the BookTrust. We were kindly sent three from the list and I am just in love with the beautiful illustrations in ‘Babies Can Sleep Anywhere’ – oh how I wish my two babies got that memo!
For more super helpful advice on introducing a Bath, Bed, Book routine into your little one’s bedtime, head over to BookTrust. Join in and share your tips and ideas using @BookTrust and #BathBookBed across social media – after all, this parenting thing really does take a village.
This post was written in collaboration with the BookTrust.