Exhausted parents of babies and toddlers need more help getting their children to sleep at night, according to new research by BookTrust, Britain’s largest reading charity.
Over three quarters (78%) of parents say that lack of sleep is the hardest aspect of being a new parent, with some mums, dads and carers claiming they would pay more than £10,000 to put an end to sleepless nights.
More than a third of parents (35%) view getting their child to sleep at night as one of the most challenging things about being a parent, and night waking only increases the challenge with over half of parents (52%) whose children wake up three times a night on average saying it’s their main worry. Making it no surprise that 3 in 5 (60%) parents want guidance on having a consistent and successful routine to get their child to sleep at night.
The BookTrust survey of a thousand parents with children aged three and under prompted the charity to team up with TV parenting expert Jo Frost, to launch Bath Book Bed. A campaign which aims to encourage parents to stick to a simple bedtime routine with a soothing a story to help their little ones sleep soundly.
Jo Frost, who has been a nanny for 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.’
Another worrying statistic to come out of the research was that more than 7 in 10 (71%) parents with children aged three and under feel they have a shorter temper when they are tired and it affects their family life, with more than a fifth (22%) strongly agreeing with this.
Jo continued: ‘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.’
During the campaign Jo will be on hand to provide advice to parents about how best to introduce the Bath Book Bed routine and how to maintain it. BookTrust is also encouraging parents to sign-up to ‘14 Days to Better Sleep’, with tips, videos and support to help them adopt the Bath Book Bed routine. Also backing the campaign are public health organisations 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.’