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A new bedtime routine..

My daughter is nine. If left to her own devices she would stay awake till the small hours every single night, she is a real night owl. I started to notice without the routine of school her sleep pattern was getting worse.. She would be awake till very late, then the battle the next morning to get her up to join her online school lessons was.. less than fun.

It didn't matter if I sat with her to get her to sleep as she is a very light sleeper, so the minute I got up to leave the room she would be awake. She is also very good at pretending to be asleep! So I would think I had cracked it, thinking she was out for the count, only to find her awake later on when I went to bed.

She has a phone, I often wish she didn't and regret letting her have one, she was always borrowing mine to play the games she enjoys and to talk to her friends (which lets be honest is fair enough in Lockdown..) So we got her her own.. But she is on it a lot, so after getting worried about it I have started with app timers to limit her screen time.. I am far from winning this battle but I am insisting on a break from screen time before bedtime on week nights, I let her have one late night each weekend.

I love reading and sadly, my kids don't seem to have the same love for it. So telling Amber to read before bedtime doesn't always work, although sometimes she does enjoy it. But I would love for her to love books, so I persevere.. I read to her in the bath. We are often short on time during the week so I liked the idea of bedtime multitasking - getting clean and reading at the same time.. sounds good to me.

I wasn't sure if it would spark her interest, but it did. The first book we read in the bath was Good Night Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, this was last summer, Amber still talks about that book now.

Our most recent read was Code Name Banana's by David Walliams, she would giggle her head off as I read, possibly more at my attempt to make gorilla noises, although it is a very funny and also heart warming story.

Our current read is something a bit different to our usual reads, we have gone with The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood Hargrave, we are enjoying this so far, its very mysterious.

After we have read, Amber gets in bed and usually I play some gentle music to help her nod off, but recently we discovered some children's guided meditations on Spotify. I wasn't sure if Amber would like these, but she loves them. The first one she listened to was about a dreaming tree, the meditation tells the children to imagine they are safe at the roots of a tree and then they can reach up and pick a dream.. Amber laid there with her eyes closed and said 'I am doing what the lady is telling me Mummy I can see it in my head..' then two minutes later I heard her gentle snore.

These tiny changes have made a real difference, she is enjoying stories, often eager for the next chapter, she always wants a bath now and her sleep seems to have improved... aaannnd, probably not related.. but since she started sleeping better she now also keeps her room tidy.. maybe not related.. but I am enjoying not having to nag about her bedroom!

I am thinking of adding a reading section to my website as I really love books, so I shall keep you posted on the books Amber and I enjoy together, and if you have any suggestions for us, we would love to hear them.

Love Steph and Amber xxx

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