We’ve never been one for following routines. We’ve pretty much always gone along with the flow with whatever we have done, school and work aside. However, the one routine that we did put in place when Harrison was a couple of months old, and have tried to carry on since is ‘Bath, Book, Bed’.
This little bit of routine to our day helped Harrison, and then Alex and Benjamin when they came along, to know that it was time to start winding down and relax, and would bring our day to a nice, calm end. Even now, with Harrison almost 6, we still loosely follow this routine with him, although it’s more likely to be a shower now, but the principle is still generally the same.
Our wind down routine starts, as the name suggests, with a bath. As I said above, it’s sometimes substituted for a shower, but bathtimes are more sociable and a nice time for us to have a chat. Up until recently, all three of them went in the bath at the same time, but they’re a little big now, so they all have one by themselves. They are just like me in that they love deep and very bubbly baths – we get through crazy amounts of bubble bath! They have plenty of toys in there to play tipping and pouring with, and they like to have a ‘swim’. All three are water babies, and there’s never tears when it comes to washing their hair or having a scrub, thank god!
Once they are out of the bath and wrapped up in a snuggly warm towel, straight off the radiator, it’s time for teeth. Again, this is something that ours thankfully love doing, but we sometimes have the Brush Your Teeth song on my phone to remind us of how long we should be brushing for.
The next step is to get PJs on and get into bed. Sometimes we all end up in our bed for the story. Sometimes, Harrison likes to take himself off and read a story by himself, but it’s a crucial part of the routine, and one of our favourite times of the day. We have a huge collection of books, but we still have some favourites that get read over and over again; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are always requested!
The final part is, of course, bed. By this point, everyone is (usually!) calm, relaxed and ready to settle down to sleep. Alex usually sleeps in with us – he suffers from terrible night terrors still and needs gentle reassurance once one starts or we are up half the night calming him down. That’s something we are working on, but Harrison and Ben trot off to bed in their rooms without a problem.
This week, the Book Trust have launched their #BathBookBed campaign and have teamed up with parenting expert Jo Frost and Peppa Pig. They want to encourage parents and carers to incorporate stories into their child’s bedtime routine and help children sleep better. There are all sorts of things going on – from chatter over social media to events in shopping centres in Manchester and Thurrock, where you can meet and get personal advice from Jo Frost. You can pick up a copy of the Bath, Book, Bed booklet from your local library or download it from the BookTrust website – it’s jam packed with tips and advice for making bedtimes smoother and less stressful for all involved.
What your tips for a smooth and chilled out bedtime? Do you do bath, book, bed? I’d love you to share your experiences in the comments!
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