Do you know what, I never really followed much of a routine. Obviously I’d kind of live in one because of work but it was quite a loose one and I’d be quite happy to alter plans last minute. Then I found out I was pregnant and so I started reading all the baby books which all reinforced again and again how important a routine was for babies. We did have one to start with and then things happen to throw everything out of whack and the routine slips and it just goes from there. It wasn’t until a few months down the line, when my daughter still didn’t settle very well that it was suggested to me that perhaps I should really make a conscious effort to create a set routine for my daughter to allow her to understand what was to follow and also what was expected of her too. We’re now approaching her second birthday and we do have our bedtime routine firmly planted now and it works well for us. We’re not the only ones who think a bedtime routine is super important…
That’s right – that naughty little Peppa Pig, the supernanny Jo Frost and Books Trust are teaming up to help parents with simple steps to a better night’s sleep and what parent does not want a better night’s sleep?! Now we may have a routine that works, but we still have moments where Alyssa doesn’t want to go to bed and will lie in bed shouting the odds or will revert to the sleeping habits of a newborn and be up and down all night. To put it frankly, I’m exhausted so I’d welcome any help with our routine to make my little one go to bed happy and sleepy and staying asleep until morning.
We received a big box of Peppa Pig goodies from Books Trust as well as a booklet with tips from Jo Frost on how to get that good night’s sleep I have been craving. Jo tells us that “Children thrive on structure to their day. Simple routines make life easier!” and that is where #BathBookBed comes in.
First up comes the bath. Alyssa is a total water baby and absolutely adores a good bath. She would sit and splash away all night if she could and has no fear when it comes to water. We try and have a bath every night but as Jo says, some people either don’t have time or choose not to bath their children every night and that is okay. The focus is on hygiene – so whether it is a full on bath or a good flannel wash and the brushing of teeth and hair, it is the hygiene routine that counts. We also like to have a little massage and have done this since Alyssa was born. A bath can be relaxing for little ones but also a lot of fun so a nice calm five minute massage after just helps soothe them – we also do it with some lovely lavender scented oil which again is a calming agent when it comes to getting little ones ready for bed. Have you seen all the gorgeous Peppa Pig bits and bobs you can get to use in the bathroom?! Alyssa had lots of fun with the toothbrush…which she wanted to take in the bath too!
I tried to make this part of our routine when she was really young and she just wasn’t interested. I wrote not so long
ago about how “She Won’t Let Me Read” and how I hated the fact that she wasn’t really into her books. Despite this, each day I always put books out for her so that if she ever wanted to she could go and take a peek. Suddenly, in the last week or two she has suddenly developed this interest in books – woohoo! She loves books with flaps that she can open or books that include her favourite characters like Upsy Daisy or books with different pictures and words for her to learn. Each day we get the chance to sit down and read a book together. Jo says that it’s such a special time together and children like getting cosy with a book and listening to it coming to life. Now my little one is taking an interest in books, I am slowly trying to start incorporating this into our bedtime routine and it is fast becoming one of my favourite things to do with my little girl and now thanks to Books Trust we have two brand new Peppa Pig books to add to our reading list.
We’re actually quite pleased with our bedtime routine now as 99% of the time it works well for us. It took a bloomin’ long time to get there but after some sleep training (explained in Sleep: We did It Our Way) we have settled into what works for us. As Jo says, it is important to create a calm environment and to let them know what is now expected of them – they are to go to sleep. Dim the lights and if they do need a night light, make sure it is of amber tones. Tidy all toys away and make sure they are in a dry nappy or have been to the bathroom and that they have any comforter they might need. Alyssa has her Mimmie (whom I actually made a public thank you to in “She Did What I Couldn’t!”) and has some soft pink glowing lights in her room which are just bright enough to eliminate shadows for her. I also used trigger words when I was sleep training her to let her know it was time to go to sleep and I still use them now. I tuck her in, give her a kiss and stroke her face and say “N-un Night. Love you.” and leave the room. If for any reason I have to go back in at all, I will repeat these steps to reinforce what I am expecting her to do. With older children, Jo suggests that if they ask you a question you can feel free to answer it but if you know it is a delaying tactic you can tell them that you will discuss it at breakfast in the morning. Peppa Pig also has lots of wonderful things to help your little one feel all snuggly and cosy at night such as her fantastic inflatable night light and her cosy blanket, pillow and duvet set – and hey if your kids are really Peppa mad then you could go the whole hog (pun intended!!!) and grab a Peppa Pig bed, bookcase and toy box too!
I think we live in such a technology and digital based world these days that it’s nice to go back to the simple basic things when it comes to our children and create memories that don’t involve a screen. When asked whether it was a possibility to substitute reading a book for playing calmly on a tablet for example Jo said that whilst there are some great educational apps for children, it is proven that reading a book can have a very calming effect on children whereas lit screens can actually wake them up more and cause excitement – this goes for adults too you know! So shut off the TV, shut down the tablet, get out the bubbles, grab the book and tuck them in tight and as you slip out of the door just whisper, “Good night.”
This is a collaborative post – all opinions are my own.