We all have a bedtime routine, whether it’s a rigid schedule or a loose routine before bed. I’d say we’re somewhere in-between the two. Chris Evans from LEDHut.co.uk commissioned a study of 1,000 parents, which revealed some surprising insights into many of their bedtime routines.
A few of the following things we do as a family, as I’m sure many parents do too. Sometimes we parents have no other option than to do things a certain way before bed, sometimes it works for us and there’s no need to change it. But sometimes it isn’t working and we would love to adapt our evenings slightly. I know I’d like less screen time, more books and more time spent winding down the kids before bedtime. Because before bed is when they’re at their calmest and cuddliest.
Bedtime Routine Study:
- 74% of parents regularly give their children a shower as opposed to a bath
74% of parents said their little ones preferred screen time to a book
42% allow TV at bedtime
28% allow iPads and phones at bedtime
20% of children watch TV in their own bedrooms before bed
53% of parents said their kids have no set bedtime
89% of parents admitted their children stayed up too late
45% leave a light on all night to prevent a fear of the dark
When their children didn’t go to sleep 22% said they watched films, 19% percent watch TV, while 11% play games
The one I’m most surprised at is how many kids shower before bed. If we were to only have a shower, then we would have no option but to shower, unless we could make it work in the sink. But I’m very surprised this was an overwhelming majority because the thought of showering my kiddies sends shivers down my spine. It can only end up with flooding with our kiddies.
One I am guilty of is letting my little ones watch an episode of something on TV before we trot upstairs to have a bath. Although it’s working for us as it gives me a chance to clear up the evening mess while they’re settled with milk and Mickey. While we don’t have any screen time instead of books directly before bed, I would like to make the effort to read a story every night. Sometimes we skip a book because we’re tired or fraught from the day, when really once we start reading to our littles it’s something both of us enjoy. The kids especially love it when we do the ‘accents’.
We certainly don’t suffer with kiddies who refuse bedtime anymore. For quite some time we used to cajole them into sleep with more activities, hoping it’d tire them out. Looking back I can see how absurd it is, but desperate times call for desperate measures. These days I put on my scariest voice and say ‘bed’. It’s not often we’re met with a wandering toddler after bedtime now.
Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman said: “Children need a lot more sleep than adults. Their bodies are growing, and their minds are developing.
“Without sleep, they risk poor school performance, poor social skills and a range of other problems.
“Above all, children thrive on routine. That is why having a fixed bed time (which can always be slightly different at weekends or on special occasions) preceded by a series of predictable events, such as a soothing bed-time story, is the best start to a good night’s sleep.
“This routine is also important “quality time” when parents can be available to their children, giving them their full attention, in case they are worried or scared about anything that is going on in their lives.
“Most children will sleep better, and have fewer night terrors or bad dreams, if they have had a chance to share the things that are upsetting them with a trusted adult.
“Neither adults nor children should engage with screens for at least an hour before going to bed. The blue lights in screens engage the most “alert” parts of the brain, and make it difficult to get to sleep, and hard to achieve deep, refreshing sleep.
“You might feel that if your kids have got into poor habits around bedtime, it is too late to turn things around – but it isn’t!
“Pass some simple rules and expect everyone to follow them. For instance, have all the people in the house – adults as well as children – put their mobile phones and other screens into a big bowl an hour before the kids’ bedtime, and make sure they stay there.
“If your child has a TV in their room, bring it downstairs. Instigating some healthy rules now will make all the difference!”
I agree with a lot of what she says especially the quality time at bedtime. I spend all day with my little ones and find that bedtime is when they receive a lengthy amount of undivided and uninterrupted attention.
Chris Evans from the LED Hut says: “No fixed bedtimes, coupled with parents leaving the light on for their children all night means that our children are simply not getting enough sleep.
“Creating the right atmosphere is important and lighting plays a big part in that, dimming the lights or using warm shade LED bulbs will create a calm environment.
“Rather than waste electricity by leaving a light on all night, we would recommend using an energy efficient LED night light instead, which will prevent complete darkness but not interrupt healthy sleep.”
Do your little ones have a bedtime routine? What works for you?