Bedtime Battles

The first ‘Bedtime Nanny’ service has been launched for parents who don’t want to, or find it too stressful, to put their children to bed!

Childcare.co.uk launched the service after demand for ‘bedtime support’ from its database of parents. A recent study of 2,000 mums by OnePoll revealed a third are worn out trying to get their little ones to go to bed. Bedtime Nannies must have at least one year of childcare experience, an enhanced DBS check, and be first aid trained and their responsibilities include; enforcing a strict bedtime routine, getting kids changed into pyjamas, cleaning children’s teeth, optional bathing, and tucking them in before telling them a bedtime story. The site already has 250 nannies offering the service in England, Scotland and Wales.

We wanted to know what parents and carers reallythought of the idea andasked them: ‘Would you ever consider paying £20 for someone to come over just to put the kids to bed?’

Both Trish Phelan Clarke and Janice Caldwell said they thought the idea was, ‘ridiculous!’. Trish added, “We’re all winging it. It’s hard, it’s exhausting but you plough through, and learn, and things improve. Bedtime is a stressor for a lot of kids and parents so you find things that work. Extra snuggles or a bedtime story.”

Jemma Currie commented, “Yes bedtime can be stressful but it’s also when some of the most wonderful memories are made, like when your son tells you he loves you for the first time, so no I wouldn’t ever let a stranger put my children to bed, never mind pay someone to do it!” Diane C Lose totally agreed that she would never pay for someone to put her kids to bed as she finds, “Bedtime is when my kids actually open up and tell me if they have a worry or a problem at school.”

Grandmother Betty Cree said, “No way! I lie beside my wee grandson (20 months) while he drifts off to sleep. It’s time I treasure with him and I wouldn’t give those special moments to a stranger.” And mum Máiréad Burke admits she does sometimes find bedtime crazy, but also says, “I love reading my children their bedtime stories and saying our prayers. There’s so much bonding time to be gained in this little time we spend together.”

Andrea Grace, sleep expert at The BabyShow and the author of Andrea Grace’s Gentle Sleep Solutions: Teach Yourself has some advice for parents and carerswho are facing a battle at bedtime: “Unlike when they’re babies, when children are older, things can be trickier at bedtime. This is especially true whenparents are working. Mums and dads oftenfeel like they are fighting a losing battle, with allof the distractions ofhomework and phones,social media etc.

“We have to respect thatgrowing children haveminds of their own, butparents should not throw in the towel when it comes to managing their sleep needs. They need to still be the boss at bedtime as a good night’s sleep brings growing children huge benefits.

“Sleep strengthens their immune systems, improves their concentration, and makesthem less prone to accidents. It is vital formemory consolidation and learning and also healthy physical growth. Sleep has a detoxifying role – encouraging good mental and emotional health and it reallydoes help with the hormonal mood swingsif they are well rested. As if this wasn’t enough, there’s a solid link between obesity and lack of sleep, and making sure that they have enough sleep is one of the mostimportant things that parents can do to prevent this. Children and teens need some quiet time and their own space at theend of a busy day; just as parents do, and lovingly set parental boundaries help them to feel safe and secure.

“With all of this in mind, parents should set a reasonable bedtime following a familiar routine and stick to it. Turn off all screens before they go for their bath or shower. Try not to send them to their room as a punishment, and even if you’re tired and stressed; remember who is the adult and don’t put your child to bed on anargument.”

Childcare.co.uk says that feedback fromparents who use the site revealed that 83per cent find bedtime stressful, with more than two thirds (68%) of those that did saying that it was the most stressful part of their day. Childcare.co.uk founder, Richard Conway, said, “As a parent myself I know how stressful it can be to put the kids to bed, and sometimes you honestly find yourself dreading telling them it’s time to go upstairs. When we found out so many parents find it the most stressful part of their day, we weren’t surprised. Since launching, it’s caused a lot of debate on our social media channels, but I’m hoping that our service can help any families out there who are struggling. If we can help at least one family tackle the terror of bedtime, then the service is a success.”

The Baby Show runs from October 19-21 at London Olympia – thebabyshow.co.uk Andrea Grace’s Gentle Sleep Solutions: Teach Yourself is available from Amazon RRP £10.99

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