It is based on a survey of over 1,000 families of children aged three and under on sleeping habits and bedtime routines, which also found that sleep deprivation is the most stressful challenge about becoming a parent, second only to worries about children’s health. A fifth of respondents (21 per cent) revealed they have taken a day off work to catch up on lost sleep.
Findings from the survey also reveal that children whose parents do not use a bath, book, bed routine with them are less relaxed at bedtime, get-up more often during the night and get fed more frequently.
Parents who don’t follow a bath, book, bed routine reported that their health, productivity and sense of humour suffers as a result.
The research has been published to coincide with the launch of Booktrust’s annual Bath, Book, Bed campaign that aims to encourage parents to make stories part of their child’s bedtime routine, which the charity says also helps children sleep better.
Launching on 24 April, the campaign is backed by parenting expert Jo Frost (pictured) and Booktrust’s ambassador Daddy Pig from the children’s cartoon Peppa Pig, is endorsed by the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and supported by the Arts Council England.
The charity is also holding Bath, Book, Bed roadshow events at the Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester on 27 April and the Intu Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock on 28 April. Special guests Jo Frost and Daddy Pig will be at the free events to explain to families the benefits of a Bath, Book, Bed routine and the importance of sharing stories with young children. Parents who attend the roadshow events will be able to get a copy of Booktrust's Bath, Book, Bed booklet .
Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, said, ‘BookTrust understands how troublesome it can be for parents to get young children to sleep and we know that sometimes it can feel like a never-ending struggle, so we’re sending out 450,000 copies of our Bath, Book, Bed booklet filled with advice and tips to help families tackle bedtime head on and ensure everyone gets a good night’s sleep.’
Speaking to Nursery World, Jo Frost said, 'I’m empathetic that it can be challenging for parents, but we need to make sleep a priority and ensure children are getting what they need. Adequate sleep is important for both children and their parents.
'Time management can be an issue for parents. They come home from work tired and find it easier to say yes to things rather than no, but parents need to put their energy into a bedtime routine, something that has long-term gratification. [The problem is that] we are in a society that wants immediate gratification and to see short-term effects.'
She added, 'The Bath, Book and Bed routine works time and time again – I’ve never seen it fail, that’s why I’m behind Booktrust’s message. The routine works as it creates boundaries, allows children time to switch off and creates a peaceful environment that is inducive to sleep. Reading is also good on a developmental and educational level and helps create a bond between parents and their children.'