As parents, we all aren’t getting as much sleep as we would like. Nowhere near! Even on those rare occasions Joshua actually sleeps in… it doesn’t feel like it. We could all sleep in until 10am and I would still want more, because parenting is bloody tough. But it’s a whole lot harder when you are getting little sleep.
When Joshua was a tiny newborn, I’m gonna be honest… I knew a fait bit about babies. I was never nervous about having my first baby, because I kinda knew what I was doing but the one thing that I knew nothing about was sleep. Back when Joshua was just barely a month old, we were out having dinner at a restaurant and he wouldn’t stop crying. I had no idea what he wanted because he wasn’t hungry, had a clean nappy… I couldn’t think of anything! Then someone leaned in and said, “Why do they have to fight their sleep, eh?”. Of course!!
One of the hardest parts of parenthood is running on little sleep and it’s also not good for your little ones either. But what could possibly be tougher than getting through the day after an awful night’s sleep? Getting your little to actually… sleep!
There have been many nights where I’ve been sat on Joshua’s bedroom floor, completely exhausted and running low on ideas. We have all been there.
BookTrust are running a brilliant campaign called Bath, Book, Bed which is raising awareness of how important establishing a routine is. A routine is vital when it comes to getting a good night sleep, for both us and our little ones, as well as relaxing them before we expect them to shut down for the night.
Our Bedtime Routine
As Joshua got a bit older, the one thing that Jamie got excited about was reading him books. Sharing story time together before bed. Each night Joshua chooses who he would like to take him up to bed and we let him pick out two books. Story time has been a part of his bedtime routine for around two years now and not only does he enjoy it, but so do we. We both cuddle up on his armchair in the corner of his bedroom, reading a story before he jumps into bed. But it hasn’t always been this easy!
When Joshua was still little we carried on letting him sleep in his moses basket through until we went to bed for much longer than we should have. Joshua would sleep in a room with lights on, TV on and background noise in general. He only fell asleep surrounded by people and in our arms and we just wasn’t allowing him to learn to fall asleep himself.
So, we made the decision to make bedtime upstairs. We would take him into his bedroom wide awake, keep the lights down low and quiet. Joshua would have his bedtime bottle and a cuddle before we put him down to sleep.
To start off with I would continue cuddling him to sleep, as he got used to the new setting. I then eventually started placing him in his cot awake, and gently patted his bum until he drifted off – patting his bum was the ONLY way to get him to sleep since day 1. After a while, I then stopped patting his bum and rubbed his back only and I then started leaving him awake to fall asleep on his own. It was a long process but something that needed to be done and we wanted to do it in a less upsetting way.
After some time, he learnt how to put himself to sleep and as he got older we introduced that 7pm bedtime whereas before we would still let him dictate what time he wanted. Pretty soon, he was sleeping from 7pm straight through to 7am!
Having that routine in place – a Bath, Book, Bed, it has given Joshua that hour after dinner to completely relax and wind down after a busy day.
I always find it helpful reading other people’s stories on the areas that I find difficult with the little one, so I have been reading many blogs on how parents managed to introduce a routine with their child. Find out how Chilling with Lucas are getting on with their Bath, Book, Bed routine here.
We are so pleased to be working with BookTrust on their Bath, Book, Bed campaign this year. We were sent a bundle of Peppa Pig bedtime goodies, which Joshua has loved! If you’re struggling with settling into a routine, then you can get involved too!
- Download their advice booklet, ‘Bath, Book, Bed: Simple steps to a better night’s sleep’ featuring Jo Frost, the parenting expert, Daddy Pig!
- If you would like some further info and advice, the Bath, Book, Bed website has some advice on how to introduce a routine and maintain it.
- If you’re struggling to find some books that are perfect for bedtime, then BookTrust also have you covered with their Best Bedtime Books list for 2018!
Do you have any advice for parents who are struggling with bedtime? Share your ideas by using #BathBookBed and @BookTrust on social media.
This post is in collaboration with BookTrust.