How do you help children to sleep through the night?

There is lots of advice about, how to help your children to sleep through the night. It is up to you to choose which suits your parenting style and more importantly which suits your child.

Listening to James Wilson sleep practitioner from The Children's Sleep charity on Radio 4 recently, reinforced to me how you need to listen to your child and wait until the time is right for them, to try any new sleep training techniques.

Children develop and mature at different rates and we are all too keen to group them together.

Sleep routines are individual, and one child may have the emotional maturity to settle themselves to sleep and another may not. When a child is born they will all react to their new environment differently and parenting styles are all unique, so comparing children is not always helpful. Especially when suffering from a lack of sleep! 

Medical experts have shown lack of sleep affects almost every function from eyesight and brain processing, to mood and appetite - so if you are tired cut yourself some slack and recognise things won't be perfect.

If you are struggling to help your child sleep through the night and have tried lots of different sleep techniques, then ask a health professional for advice.

They are there to support you and will be able to recommend community organisations, where you can meet other parents going through the same things, as you are.

A bedtime routine can help your child settle better and a story at bedtime is a perfect way to start this process. #BathBookBed is a campaign by the Booktrust to reinforce this message.

Children are watching screens before bed and are creating habits, that could prevent a good nights sleep. If they can open up a book with you at bedtime, you will be making memories to treasure. I read to my children at bedtime, long after they needed me to. We shared special times together over the pages of Harry Potter and are bonded together with our love of stories.

Stories can still be shared at bedtime wherever you are in the world, I read stories to my cousin's son in South Africa via Skype. The calming sound of a recognisable voice across the miles, at bedtime has been therapeutic for him and me!

One thing to remember - keep things in perspective, children will sleep at night eventually.

Getting support from family and friends is key, an hour to yourself is so valuable to recharge and SLEEP ...

Looking for books to read to your children at bedtime?

Book time to meet The Reading Champion every week. I will recommend books for your child.

Should we read our children Fairy Tales?

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales." - Einstein

I recently watched Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain talking about her book "Bake Me a Story", which encourages baking alongside traditional fairy tales. or so I thought!

Nadia said that fairy tales gave children nightmares, so she had changed the stories in her book. I have read the classic fairy tales many many times over the years to children in settings and to my own children and now grandchildren. The structure of the fairy tale is there to be used by the child to support their emotional development. We may come across people who remind us, of these characters from fairy tales and as adults can see how the stories prepared us and made us emotionally resilient. 

Fairy tales help children learn how to navigate life. (Bettelheim, B. Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.)

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
― G.K. Chesterton

I believe these stories should not be forgotten or changed as they are part of our culture of storytelling and should be passed on for years to come.

By all means, choose which fairy tales you share with your children, please read them so this tradition is not lost forever.

Do you read fairy tales to your children? Should Grandma really get eaten by the Big Bad Wolf?

Well, I hope the Big Bad Wolf doesn't come visit me!

I am passionate about sharing stories with very young children, I look forward to meeting you soon.