On Friday last week, Kipper and I went to Lakeside to take part in a campaign run by the Book Trust – #BathBookBed. It encourages parents and carers to make stories part of every child’s bedtime routine, helping their little ones sleep well. Jo Frost who is both an ambassador and spokesperson for the campaign was holding a question and answer session.


Monkey was and still is an excellent sleeper, however Kipper on the other hand is not as brilliant. I know we are not alone and many parents have the same problem, I was amazed to hear that new parents in the first year loose 4 weeks of  sleep! I am definitely feeling that at the moment so I was keen to find out any tips which may help me, help Kipper to sleep through.

I was very impressed by Jo Frost. It was a relief to hear about the fact that a lack of sleep strips confidence, can cause memory loss, lead to a lack of willingness to cooperate, cause bickering between parents but also can lead you to arguing with your child over everything! Having experienced all of these I was starting to wonder if I had come out of my second pregnancy as a different person. I was questioning my parenting skills and we’ve booked a weekend away alone to make sure we still get on! As sometimes it doesn’t feel like that, especially when we are both tired.

By following the #BathBookBed routine Jo is confident that you will get a good nights sleep and also have time to relax and unwind as parents. The repetitiveness of routine is key. Each sequence leads to the event (bedtime) which the child will start to recognise and by the time the routine is finished will have hd the opportunity to switch off. It is important that they feel loved, safe and protected. This will help to ensure that they have no worries on their mind when they go to sleep. The same routine every night involving a story and shared reading won’t just help them fall asleep – it will also feed their imagination, creativity and confidence.
I like the fact that the routine is very simple. I am hoping by improving the amount of sleep I get it will give me more time to be present with Monkey and Kipper as I am not constantly fighting tiredness which means everyone wins. I have noticed that I say no to things a lot more when I am tired!
I don’t think we have been starting the routine early enough or distinguishing between Monkey and Kipper. Basically bedtime starts at the same time for each of them which can lead to Monkey worrying he is missing out on something going on in the other room. Which does mean that I may have to stop bathing them together. Jo Frost suggested starting the routine an hour and a half before bedtime. Start to slow everything down, start putting the toys away tell them you are starting the routine. Have a bath, have some fun and then once out make sure the room is calm and you are calm the blinds are down etc. Its important to choose the right books – not interactive ones and noisy ones. You can find more guidance on the Book Trust website.
Something I need to be mindful for the future is that two year olds can suffer from separation anxiety and not want to stay in their bedrooms. Kipper already shows this sort of behaviour if we leave the room he will cry despite the fact he is crawling and can follow us.  In this instance Jo Frost suggests letting them play in own room. Try to help them ‘own’ their room by putting up pictures and giving them choices around toys and teddies.  This will help the child to get more comfortable.
If this sounds like something you want to know more about. Then visit your local library or children’s centre where you can pick up a copy of the new A5 Bath, Book, Bed 16 page booklet featuring Daddy Pig. Alternatively you can download if from booktrust.org.uk.  There is a dedicated campaign website page on www.booktrust.org.uk/bathbookbed which will feature the new Best Bedtime Books list and continue to provide practical, clear guidance on getting young children to sleep using nightly routines. You will also have the opportunity to sign up to emails giving further Bath, Book, Bed tips and inspiration.

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  1. We have a solid routine here, but I must admit it’s become more difficult since Wills arrived. I hadn’t really thought about having a clear distinction between their bedtimes! I’d love to start earlier, but it’s difficult when we get home from work/nursery late. I’ll be checking out the Book trust website though, I love reading to the kids and think it’s so important! #BloggerClubUK

  2. I love Jo Frost! What a great opportunity to quiz her on all things parenting. Seems like great advice. I wonder whether this applies to adults too. Ha ha.

  3. I’m a big believer in this routine – and routine in general for children. Some great advice.

  4. One thing we’ve always had is a bedtime routine. Ours is usually supper, teeth, and snuggles with a book before bed. It takes about an hour but we’ve never had an issue getting our youngest to sleep so I think it’s worth it. Staying asleep was another matter until recently, but that’s a whole different ballgame!

  5. #Bathbookbed is a great way to caption the classic evening ritual with kids. It is what I did with mine, even if it hadn’t become a recognised idea back then. #BloggerClubUK

  6. Routine is the key. She loves her stories and my poems of course. I also read during the day, though there’s a difference between how she sits and listens in her sleeping bag and with daddy there. I also like to do other activities around the book and have puppets in the day. Great campaign. #BloggersClubUK

  7. While this a great idea it’s not for us. Baths in the evening make Edith too excited. We have our own routine which works quite nicely at the minute. This is a great starting point though for those who don’t know where to begin.


  8. I have always prided myself on routines- now that the twins are almost three I just want to lay in the hallway and cry myself to sleep at bedtime! Hate it.


  9. When I was expecting my first a friend told me that the most important thing to instill at an early age was a good bath-book-bed routine. It’s the one thing that we have been really strict about and our three have always been good sleepers. I really enjoy the routine too, it always feels relaxed and is proper, focussed family time in our house 🙂 #BloggerClubUK

  10. I’m so lucky in that Finn has always been a good sleeper, having said that a good routine is key. I love the idea of making books central to this, it’s a great way to spend some relaxing time together and hopefully start off a lifelong love of reading. #BloggerClubUK

  11. Thanks ever so much for posting this, it’s really good to hear what Jo had to say. We had an awful time with the four month ‘sleep regression’ and teething seems to have set off a second one at nine months. But I’m confident that by keeping to the Bath, Book, bed routine we can weather the storm a little better this time. If you are at all interested i have a post on my blog about my terrible sleeper and the effect sleep deprivation had on me. X #bloggerclubUK

  12. I’m always quite proud of the fact that when I had Little Man, even though I had no clue what I was doing, from about 4 weeks, we did this very routine. He grew up knowing nothing but this routine and I swear it’s what has made him so good at bedtime. It’s great knowing I did something right! 🙂 #bloggerclubuk

  13. I find the only “empty threat” which works with my 5 year old is the threat of no story at bedtime. Literally nothing else will have any effect on him but this one will! Which is lucky as I’d be unlikely to follow through on the threat! #bloggerclubuk

  14. We try to have a bedtime story as often as we can but it doesn’t always work out if we are late home or if bedtime is just running way late. We are reading the magic faraway tree to my eldest at the moment and my youngest tends to like the same few books over and over again! #bloggerclubuk

  15. I love this routine and try my best to uphold it each night. It was interesting what you said about separation anxiety as we’re going through that at the minute, so its great to have tips. #BloggerClubUK

  16. We followed this type of routine with BattleKid from when he was only a few months old and he is quite a good sleeper, apart from regression times and illness. A bedtime story has long been part of our routine and our son loves his stories. #bloggerclubuk

  17. Pingback: 10 Top Tips for Bedtime Routines from BookTrust and Jo Frost | Tots 100

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