‘When will you start getting her into a routine?’
I remember people asking when she was just a few weeks old.
I was bleary eyed.
I was tired.
I couldn’t think about ‘routine’ anymore than I could about how long it had been since I’d last slept.
I was no expert on raising a babe or about bedtime routine. I was a brand new, first time mum!
A plan of action was needed. I listened to the advice of more experienced parents I knew. Some advice wasn’t for me, other advice was invaluable. I read books. Books about sleep cycles, growth stages and bedtime habits. Then I followed my instincts and made it work for us.
That’s the number one thing I’ve found with bedtime. It has to work for you, your child and your family. Getting into a bedtime routine helps everyone – we all need sleep! Sleep is so essential for being able to function as a parent plus the addition of a story helps feed creativity and imagination!
For us, we don’t do a nightly bath. I know… shock horror!
Some days we’re at swimming and some days we have a bath in the morning. There isn’t always time for a bath in our post school routine. Part of our lazy Saturday mornings usually involves lots of bubbles and a good long bath.
The number one thing I would NEVER leave out of our routine is story time. As a child I have always loved reading. I used to go to bed and read by the street light – to the point where I strained my eyes from too much low light reading and had to get glasses at 8.
Our bedtime reading has changed recently. Holly has really come along with her own reading and she loves taking part in story time. It takes a little longer with her sounding out the words but it’s such amazing progress.
When I saw the #bathbookbed campaign from Book Trust I knew it was something I’d love. Jo Frost has always been someone I’ve looked to for advice. Her tips on boundaries and discipline have been essential in helping raise Holly and I’ve also used some of her tips in my teaching career.
The advice booklet is concise and full of useful tips. I loved the addition of daddy pig, he’s usually seen as being a bit useless in the Peppa Pig episodes so it’s nice to see him as the expert here
At first I thought the books from the ‘Best Bedtime Book List’ might be a little young for H. But they were amazing!! We loved ‘A Great Big Cuddle’. So much so that H took it to school to show her teacher and they ended up keeping it for two days and reading it to the class. It’s funny and has a brilliant selection of poetry.
The illustrations in ‘Silver’ are beautiful and we had so much discussion about the cat being the moon. ‘Quiet’ gave us lots of opportunities to make silly noises! But ‘A Great Bug Cuddle’ was definitely our favourite.
Try to keep things as consistent as possible. Have the same markers every evening so that even if you don’t have a bath, have a flannel wash. Turn the lights down low and make things cosy.
- Wind down time
Make the time each evening to wind down. We often do this by playing a quiet game or talking. Wind down time is no screen time!
- Make it fun
Bed time doesn’t have to be a chore! We found an awesome tooth brush timer recently that has made brushing teeth such fun! I may have even used it myself without Holly!
- Read, Read, Read
Make story time a highlight. Use the local library to keep a wide range of books. One of our all time favourites is still ‘Mr Big’!
- Make it your own
I love talking after story time. We talk about the day we’ve both had and if anything has made us happy or sad. ‘I love you to the…’ ‘…moon and back’ is our bed time saying. It works for us.
At the end of the day – just keep trying. If something isn’t working change it! Ask for advice and make it your own.
When in doubt… Bath, Book, Bed!