It is hard to overstate just how important routines are in many autism households. Planning Biggest’s days, letting him know about things well in advance, and repeating the same routines in the same order are so important in helping to make sure that he stays calm and happy. As it happens, I have also always been someone who finds routines essential. We started some elements of Bath, Book, Bed when Biggest was just a few weeks old – a bath and quiet time with a song or story from Mummy or Daddy – and , though we have added and changed a few elements, it has been like that ever since.
It is also hard to overstate just how important managing sleep can be in an autism household. Many people on the autism spectrum suffer from disturbed sleep patterns. There are many reasons and theories as to why this may be. However, anxiety, sensory issues and irregular secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns, are all possible contributing factors. With that in mind, establishing and keeping to a very clear bedtime routine have been so important to us.
Not only this, but the bath, book and bed routine is something we enjoy a great deal as a family. When Book Trust asked us to share our unique bedtime routine, as part of the Bath, Book, Bed campaign, I was excited to share just how much we enjoy our routine, and how sticking to it helps us.
We are also giving away some lovely goodies in association with Book Trust – some items to help you make bedtime something the whole family looks forward to:
Simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter at the end of the post in order to enter.
Bath, Book, Bed with Book Trust
Book Trust knows that lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of being a parent of young children – and getting them to sleep is one of the biggest challenges. In fact, last year they did some research that suggested new parents were losing out on over 650 hours of sleep a year.
Bath, Book, Bed is a simple, three-step routine that is easy to adapt to meet your family’s needs. It is also a proven way to ensure that the whole family gets more sleep – something we all need!
To celebrate, Book Trust will be sharing tips and stories with parents in a Twitter Party on Wednesday, 11 April between 8 and 9pm. Make sure you’re following Book Trust on Twitter to join in the chat!
If you have some advice to share, ideas on how to make the most of this special bonding time, or you’re simply looking for some new book title inspiration, make sure you join in with the chat. They will be giving away prizes throughout the hour-long party too, so do join in for your chance to win one of five £20 book tokens. Share your tweets using the hashtag #BathBookBed between 8pm and 9pm on 11 April to participate.
You can download the Bath, Book, Bed booklet with advice from Jo Frost & Daddy Pig and find the Twitter party terms and conditions here.
Our Bedtime Routine
Our bedtime routine runs like clockwork and has many elements that stay exactly the same, every night. We even go as far as to have the same wordings in exactly the same order, as it helps a great deal with Biggest’s anxiety. Our routine goes as follows:
- We have set time when the bedtime routine begins. We stick to this without fail, apart on very special occasions.
- The bedtime routine is exactly the same, every time. Littlest goes up for her bath at 7 pm. Sometimes Biggest and Littlest share a bath. This has been a fairly recent change as previously he found it too unpredictable to share. Sometimes, if he is feeling overwhelmed, he still prefers to have a bath on his own.
- Littlest gets out of the bath and into her pyjamas and goes straight to her darkened room for warm milk and a story with Mummy. Her favourites are Stick Man, Tiddler, and anything with Peppa Pig!
- Biggest gets out of the bath at 7.25 pm and goes straight into his darkened room with his autism friendly bedroom sensory aids.
- Daddy then reads has a selection of familiar stories and poems to him. His favourites are Dr. Seuss poems.
- Once I have said goodnight to Littlest, I go in to say goodnight to Biggest, just as his story or poem is finishing.
- Both Daddy and I have a script that we use, with goodnight phrases that are exactly the same every night. Daddy tells Biggest that he is our “super special little chap” and to make sure he “looks after teddy” in the night. I always ask “How much do I love you?” to both children. Their response is “As much as the whole world” and I always answer “And even more than that gorgeous boy/gorgeous girl Goodnight.” It is exactly the same, every night.
- By 7.30/7.35pm both are left to fall asleep.
Inspiring a Love of Reading
This routine works extremely well for us. In fact, we tend to only really encounter huge sleep problems or anxiety when we have to deviate from it. For example, times when we have stayed in places without a bath or when we have forgotten their favourite stories, or when one parent cannot be there. Our routine would not work for every family, as it is fairly rigid – but it works for us!
Another thing which is so important to us is inspiring a love of reading. I think the bedtime routine has really helped make reading something that the children associate with comfort, home, and fun. They both use the reading nook in Littlest’s room to explore books and stories –
Competition – Win a Peppa Pig Bedtime Goodie Bag.
You could win a bedtime goodie bag, perfect for any Peppa Pig fan. The prize includes:
- Peppa Pig Book
- A Peppa Pig Toothbrush
- Peppa Pig Toothpaste
- Peppa Bubble Bath
- Bath, Book, Bed booklet
- 2 Best Bedtime Books
To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below. Please note, the prize includes two random books from the Book Trust’s Best Bedtime 2018 List. The winner will receive two books from the list at random, not necessarily the ones pictured.
T&Cs apply and can be found in Rafflecopter. The competition is open to UK entrants and closes at midnight on the 30th April.
By entering this competition, the entrant allows Rafflecopter and Someone’s Mum to store and use their email address for the purposes of this competition. Emails will not be used for any other purpose and will be deleted after 6 months.
Please note, Book Trust sent Littlest some Peppa Pig goodies as a thank you for this post. We were not compensated in any other way.