More than two-fifths of parents in Northern Ireland feel their relationship with their partner is suffering because of tiredness. Nearly one in 10 parents are getting up five times a night, more than any other region surveyed, because of their youngest child aged 0-4, with 58 per cent admitting they are sleep deprived.
One quarter of parents stated one of the most challenging parts of being a parent is the effect it has on their relationship with their partner. With 25 per cent of parents admitting they’ve slept in a separate room to their partner to get extra kip. One in five parents has also pretended to be asleep so their partner would tend to the child. More than a third of parents stated if their child slept better they would benefit from more time spent with their partner.
To help parents rekindle their relationships, the UK’s largest reading charity BookTrust is urging families to follow a simple three step, book centred bedtime routine as part of their Bath, Book, Bed campaign. The campaign offers a free advice booklet with guidance, alongside a bedtime book list, to help little ones drift off to the land of nod.
Liz Canning, BookTrust NI Manager said: “Once you’ve had a child, sleeping well can seem like a distant memory. We know over half of Northern Irish parents are asking for more guidance on a consistent and successful bedtime routine to help end sleepless nights. The Bath, Book, Bed campaign aims to help ease the strain sleeplessness can have on relationships by following a simple book focused bedtime routine. We want to reassure families that the routine is not a one size fits all approach, it can be adapted and shaped to fit each family’s needs.”
Global Parenting Expert, Jo Frost, said:“Too many sleepless nights can have a lasting impact on intimate relationships. This can result in communication breaking down, couples sleeping in separate rooms and intimacy falling to an all-time low. To rekindle those relationships, why not try introducing a routine to your evenings. A simple routine like bath, book, bed can help get young children to settle so that everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep.”
Partnerships are not the only relationships to suffer from a lack of sleep. Nearly half of parents say their relationship with their child is also affected because they are tired and feel frustrated with them.More than two-thirds of parents also admitted that waking in the night gives them a shorter temper, which impacts on their family life.
The Bath, Book, Bed campaign is now in its third year. Since launching in 2016, BookTrust has reached over one million families with its campaign booklet which features Daddy Pig, from Entertainment One’s highly popular Peppa Pig animated series. The booklet is full of top tips and advice from parenting expert Jo Frost on the simple steps parents can take for a better night’s sleep and can be downloaded here.
The survey, commissioned by OnePoll on behalf of BookTrust polled 150 Northern Irish parents of 0-4 year olds, who child/children live at home with them.