Tired parents and tired children is a recipe for disaster

Published on: 11 May 2016 Author: Jo Frost

It's no surprise to me that the research for BookTrust has found that exhausted parents of babies and toddlers need more help getting their children to sleep at night.

The research found that more than three quarters of parents say lack of sleep is the hardest aspect of being a new parent, with some claiming they would pay more than £10,000 to put an end to sleepless nights.

In my professional career as a child carer for 20 years, I constantly heard from parents that sleep deprivation is, quite simply, amongst the top challenges faced by parents of young children.

Jo at a Bath, Book, Bed launch earlier today

Tired parents and tired children is a recipe for disaster - none of us are at our best when we're exhausted, and parenting is challenging enough without sleep deprivation thrown into the mix. This is why I wanted to get involved in the Bath, Book, Bed campaign, to help parents establish a simple bedtime routine with a soothing a story that will help little ones sleep soundly, and will have benefits for the whole family.

More than a third of parents have told BookTrust that getting their child to sleep at night is one of the most challenging things about being a parent, with over half wanting guidance on having a consistent and successful routine to get their child to sleep at night.

It's the kind of simple routine that along with myself, health visitors have been promoting for years; we all know that getting babies and children into good bedtime habits doesn't need to involve complicated regimes or expensive gizmos.

And this routine has wider benefits too. When families come together at night, bonding and reading together, it not only helps wind down the evening so that the child is more relaxed and ready for bed, but strengthens children's vocabulary and literacy skills, and enables them to foster a love of reading.


As a BookTrust ambassador, during the campaign I will be on hand to provide advice to parents about how best to introduce the Bath Book Bed routine and how to maintain it. But we're also relying on other professionals to help us get the message out there - to reassure parents that a routine as simple as Bath, Book Bed really does work wonders.

And to support them along the way, we're encouraging parents to sign-up to Bath, Book, Bed, with tips, videos and support to help them adopt the bedtime routine. I'm thrilled this campaign is being backed by the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) and look forward to jointly supporting families as they try to establish the routine.

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