Bedtime routines survey results

Title card reading: Betime routines survey results

What is bedtime really like for UK families? 1 in 3 parents say kids don’t sleep through the night

“But I don’t want to go to bed!”

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with this spine-chilling wail, which usually signals the beginning of a very long night.

It’s a challenge that parents have been struggling with for generations – how can you make sure your children have a healthy, happy and, most importantly, reliable bedtime routine?

We surveyed 2,000 parents across the UK with children aged 0-10* to find out what happens when they try to put their kids to bed.

With 1 in 3 admitting that they struggle to get their children to sleep through the night, we spoke to parenting bloggers and Vicki Dawson, Founder of The Children’s Sleep Charity to gain insight into what works when it’s time to send your little ones off to the Land of Nod.

If you’re tired of the bedtime battle, you can read their advice here.

Bio card for Vicki Dawson from the Childrens Sleep Charity


A cute teddy bear lying down in bed

What does bedtime look like for children in the UK?

Were you allowed to stay up and watch late-night cartoons? Or did your parents adhere to a strict routine of pyjamas on, teeth brushed, eyes shut?

These days, the average weekday bedtime for children in the UK is 7pm, which is extended to 8pm for weekends and special occasions.

However, for 13% of kids under the age of 10, the lights don’t go out until after 9pm on a school night.

For most parents, it takes two extra bedtime attempts before a child settles down for the night – 23% of parents must go back three or more times before their little ones finally fall asleep.

Usually, it’s mum who gets up in the night to look after the kids – 77% take on this task, compared to 16% of dads. The remaining 7% is contributed to by other family members.

What do parents suggest?

A young child with a torch reading under a bed cover
Do you sing a magical lullaby or brew your very own sleeping potion to convince your little ones to nod off?

From folk remedies to innovative inventions, there’s a huge marketplace for failsafe strategies that promise to help your children fall asleep. Of the parents we spoke to, over half (56%) say a strict bedtime routine is a must. Some of the most popular ingredients for this routine were:

• Bedtime stories (recommended by 61%)
• Black out blinds (recommended by 50%)
• Nightlight (recommended by 37%)

For particularly stubborn little ones, some parents applied more unconventional tactics, including:

• Playing white noise (recommended by 12%)
• Taking the child for a soothing drive (recommended by 19%)
• Adding a drop of alcohol (like brandy) to their milk (recommended by 5%)

63% of parents allow their children to come into their bed when they’re struggling to sleep, and 1 in 4 parents have slept in their child’s bed. Of those who use this tactic to get the kids off to sleep, bed-sharing happens an average of three times each week.

To tech or not to tech?

A kids night light that looks like the face of an orange cat
When it comes to the debate over whether to allow youngsters to use electronic devices to aid the daily bedtime routine, there’s a close split.

While a convincing 40% of parents argue that a pre-bedtime technology blackout should be in place, over half of those we surveyed (52%) say they use electronic devices to occupy their children so they can get a few extra hours of shut-eye. These includes things like the TV (32%), an iPad (23%) and mobile phone apps (13%).

And it isn’t just school-aged children who get the tech treatment. 1 in 3 parents with a child who is less than one year old involve electronic devices in the daily routine.

Does any of it actually work?

A chalk board on a bed which reads good night!
So, at the end of the day, what do all these strategies add up to?

According to our survey, most children under the age of 10 get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Mum and dad aren’t so lucky. On average, parents reported they get six hours of sleep each night, and 1 in 3 only manage to clock between four and six hours – perhaps squeezing in a bit of me-time after their young ones have nodded off.

While the 40% who are against bedtime tech might not approve, parents who do allow their children to use electronic devices say it buys them an average of two extra hours of sleep.

Regardless of if you follow an old-fashioned routine or embrace modern practices, getting your children to fall asleep is both an art and a science. Our survey has revealed that, at some point, every parent will face a struggle at bedtime – whether it’s convincing your child to drift off or trying to stay awake yourself!

Decorative separating line

Further information

*Survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Blinds Hut. Participants included 2,000 parents with children between the ages of 0 and 10, living in regions across the UK.