A bedtime routine is something we have always had with our children and is really important to me. With three under four at one stage and very little sleep during the night, a bedtime routine was essential and it's something that we have continued as the girls have got older. Five out of seven nights of the week I have to tackle bedtime solo, with three children to put to bed if we didn't have a good routine there is no way I'd manage it. The girls are usually all tucked up in bed by 7pm, they are ready for bed by then and I am definitely ready by then!
Our routine is really simple and follows the BookTrust's very simple method of 'Bath, Book, Bed'. BookTrust are the UK's largest children's reading charity and work to inspire a love of reading in children which is something I'm really passionate about. We are proud to support BookTrust by sharing our bedtime routine with you. 'Bath, Book, Bed' breaks what can sometimes be the most challenging part of the day into manageable chunks and really works!
We head straight to the bath after tea around 6pm every day. The girls don't even need to be asked now as it's such an integrated part of the day. At the moment I bath them all together and it's a part of the day that usually brings some calm and an extra chance to play together as they pour each other pretend cups of tea and make ice creams from the bubbles. The warm water is really relaxing and I love tucking them into bed smelling all clean and fresh and ready for the next day. My biggest challenge is actually getting them out the bath as they just love it!
Once they are out the bath I help them get dressed in their bedrooms into their pyjamas and dry their hair before brushing their teeth. Teeth brushing can be a bit of a battle with the little two but some Peppa Pig toothbrushes and toothpaste along with a timer have definitely helped make it a little more appealing to them. I try to get them to have a go first before having a brush round for them. It's at this point that they tend to have a bit of a mad moment, expending that last little bit of energy! It can quickly descend into chaos particularly if we have had a busy day and the girls are overtired. This is where a book comes in to regroup everyone and continue winding down.
I love nothing more than sharing books with my children, particularly at bedtime and it's something they adore too. Most nights everyone chooses a story and we snuggle up altogether on my bed while I read to them. There are other nights if all is going well and the girls are willing to be patient that I'm able to use this part of the day to spend some time with each of them and read a book individually on their beds. Reading a book together has so many benefits and I like to think that one of these fuelling their little imaginations as they drift off to sleep to have wonderful dreams. BookTrust kindly sent us three books for us to enjoy at bedtime which have been a big hit - 'Fairy Magic', 'I love you Mummy Pig' and 'Who's Sleeping?' - they are lovely additions to our collection. They have a 'Best Bedtime Books' list on their website if you're looking for some bedtime story inspiration.
After stories I tuck each of the girls up in bed with a kiss and a cuddle and ask them what their favourite part of the day was as I stroke their hair. I love hearing the things they have remembered about the day and on the trickier parenting days it's really nice to reflect on the successes of the day and put everyone to bed happy.
I hope sharing our routine has been useful. I really love the 'Bath, Book, Bed' campaign because it's so simple and really works. A great benefit is that once established it works wherever we are. If we are away for the night, implementing the bedtime routine the girls know makes them feel really secure and they settle really well. You can download a handy booklet with tips and advice and a summary of the benefits of the Bath, Book, Bed routine by visiting the BookTrust website HERE.