Your top tips for getting children ready for bedtime It is impossible to count how many collective years’ parenting experience exists among Home-Start volunteers and families. Every day across the UK volunteers are sharing their experiences with families, and helping them to cope with the problems they are facing. Every family is different, but we wanted to use our Facebook page to give parents the chance to share their tips and advice for different aspects of family life. Our first question was around bedtimes: getting children ready for bed can be one of the most stressful times of the day, so we were looking for your tips for how to make the whole thing run more smoothly. The number one tip, raised by almost everyone who replied, was the importance of building up a routine. For Melandie this routine is very important “It's important that they're in a routine and that they are told when it's time for bed,” she writes, “counting down every 5 mins so they are prepared, not just told 'right, it's bed time'. My young kids are told 'the sun is going to bed/has gone to bed, it's your turn now', if you communicate with them in a low toned, positive matter they respond, mine do x” Dad holding babyNicki is the same, and the routine for her older child is helping her youngest learn the pattern. “Routine is definitely the key,” she says. “The same routine every night at the same time. We start with a tidy of toys away, then bathtime, massage, bottle, bed and story. My 4 month old obviously doesn't tidy toys but he watches me and his brother (3yrs) start the bedtime routine.” Meg added, “routine… calm wind down: bath, book, cuddle and a song. Kiss and a firm ‘it's bedtime now, time to sleep’. NO more pick-ups but a pat to reassure and a turnover. No chatting, no lights on to night feed and no noise eg TV.” Nicki and Meg were just two of the parents who mentioned including a story as part of their bedtime routine. For Kristen the advice is to “make story time every single bedtime something to look forward to!” Reading a story with children not only helps get them ready for bed, but evidence shows that reading with your children helps begin the process of getting them ready for school when they are a little older. Finally, Janette adds that a bath is a useful part of her routine, not just for the children, but for her too. “I put a few drops of lavender in the bath...It really helps us all relax and the smell also becomes a bedtime association.” This week we want your top tips for having a more stress-free meal time. So, to share your experiences, or to see advice from other parents, visit our Facebook page.