Book charity launches bedtime reading campaign

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Twenty-three minutes is the average time parents spend getting their baby to sleep at night, according to research by the BookTrust.

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Bath, book, bed...

A survey by the reading charity of 1,000 parents of children aged three and under found that just over a third of parents (35 per cent) considered getting their child to sleep at night was one of the biggest challenges about being a parent.

Three in five parents of under-threes said they would like to make sure reading is part of their child's bedtime routine, but wanted advice on a consistent bedtime routine for their children.

BookTrust has teamed up with parenting expert Jo Frost to encourage ‘bath, book, bed’ routines for young children.

The nanny of more than 20 years said, ‘Sleep deprivation is the most common complaint I hear from parents of young children. Tired parents and tired children is a recipe for disaster. But the solution doesn’t need to be complicated regimes or expensive gizmos. A routine as simple as bath, book, bed can get young children to settle so that everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep.’

The parenting expert said, ‘Routines establish healthy boundaries so when families come together at night, bonding and reading together, it not only helps put an end to sleepless nights, but strengthens children’s vocabulary and literacy skills, and enables them to foster a love of reading. It is my hope that families understand the enormous impact they can make in their children's lives with a few minutes of fun reading each night.’

The campaign is also backed by health visiting organisations the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) and the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV).

Diana Gerald, BookTrust chief executive, said, ‘Bedtime battles are all too common and families up and down the country know that once you have children, a good night’s sleep can sometimes seem like a distant memory. But a simple routine of bath, book, bed has been used by parents for generations and we hope it will help struggling families. We can’t think of a better preparation for a good night’s sleep than a cuddle and a bedtime story.’

BookTrust is also encouraging parents to sign-up to ‘14 Days to Better Sleep’, with tips for newborns, babies and toddlers, and videos and support to help them adopt the Bath Book Bed routine.

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