Bath, Book & Bedtime with BookTrust, Jo Frost and Daddy Pig!
BookTrust – who are they?
Do you remember the occasion where the health visitor gave you a wallet with a free book and some advice inside? That was the doing of BookTrust. They are the UK’s largest reading charity. The recognise how important reading is for little ones. The BookTrust are running a campaign that echoes what we try to do as a family. #BathBookBed. The campaign started in 2016 and has TV parenting expert Jo Frost and the jolly Daddy Pig as its ambassadors.
Why Bath, Book and Bed?
I always knew that I wanted to have some sort of routine, I’m not sure for whose benefit! Mine or theirs. I’d read about regimented routines (we all know the book!) and no routines and wanted something in between. I think a routine is highly beneficial for children. I’m no psychologist but children exist in a world that is busy, big and confusing and routine in my eyes can provide them with a kind of comfort blanket. I agree with Jo Frost who states that ‘routine is the framework of a family’s day’, ‘It fosters stability, creativity and consistency’.
When Pops was just a little baby we received a BookTrust bag with a book aimed at babies. I read the info and already being an advocate for reading, it cemented my ideals of routine and reading. We soon got into the routine of bath, book and bed.
What we do and how it fits into the Bath, Book and Bed routine.
This is where the winding down begins. Jo Frost advocates a bath as the start of the routine but does accept that not all parents want to bath their children every single night. She says what matters is the routine so the non-bath nights could be the routine of having a face and hand wash with cleaning teeth and having a wee before hopping into bed. Some may like to have baby massage included at this stage too. I think bath time is a great way to move away from screen time. It is well known that screen time is a stimulant and not a great thing to have directly prior to bedtime.
After a long and busy day we dunk them both in the bath and let them play together. Sometimes this can be full of laughter and splashes and sometimes it’s full of screams as one wrestles a bath toy off the other. Luckily these days my OH comes home from work about the time they are in the bath. So now we tend to take it in turns, one sorts out Pud and the other sorts out Pops. After bath it’s Pj’s on, teeth brushed and then we go downstairs for warm milk. But no TV! Of late we have stopped having the TV on after teatime. We began to notice that she was becoming engrossed in TV and pulling her away was the initiation of a very long temper tantrum. So we decided the TV was to be switched off much earlier and so far we seem to have had a much easier time of getting Pops up stairs.
We head upstairs between 6.45 and 7pm. Jo states that ‘sharing a book with your child can be a magical experience’ and I have to agree. At bedtime it’s just about us, no phones, no TV, no distractions. I love it. Recently we’ve been enjoying the Dr.Seuss books, especially Fox in Socks and the silly rhymes that make absolutely no sense whatsoever but has her and me in stitches! Sometimes it will be stories of adventures or princesses and very recently some of the books on the recommended reading list from The BookTrust. You can find these books on the BookTrust website.
For our 5 year old we were given ‘Hush-A-Bye Bunny’, this is what I’d describe as a calm and quiet book as you read the story of how Mummy bunny gets little bunny ready for bedtime. We also read ‘Quiet!’ which is a great book to stimulate little imaginations as a little girl explores the everyday noises in her home.
For our youngest who is 1, we have just started to read to him at bedtime. We are still finding out what works best, to read to them together or separately. Personally I think I prefer to read to them together. For him we were sent ‘Bedtime with Ted’ which encourages the bedtime routine and has large flaps to open for little fingers. It is amazing to see how he loves to look at books. After we’ve finished reading he points and ‘chats’ at the book.
We try to keep bedtime as calm as possible. Yes, she’s 5 and occasionally she becomes a thirsty, hungry girl who needs a hug and needs to check on a toy that just happens to be downstairs. We try to eliminate the chance of actual thirst and hungry by asking her what she wants about 10 minutes before she goes to bed and remind her that once we’re upstairs no asking for drinks or food! Of course there are also the evenings where tempers are short and little heads are over tired but I usually find cuddles and a book help to calm the situation. Jo recommends a tidy room to avoid distraction from the task in hand. We have cuddles, say ‘love you’ and ‘night, night’ then we leave them all tucked up and lights off. Fingers crossed the routine works and both our children settle well.
It may take a little while for the routine to feel like routine but stick at it as I truly believe the rewards are worth it.
I can highly recommend a visit to the BookTrust website for some great advice on establishing a bedtime routine and there is also the booklet ‘Bath, Book and Bed’ available to download for free that has expert tips from Jo Frost.
You can also read here why I think reading with kids is important.
Please note: we were sent 3 books as a gift from BookTrust in return for promotion of their campaign.