Warren Hayden: My secret weapon at girls' bedtime

Can I have a television in my bedroom?' That was the question directed at me by my six-year-old daughter Caitlin.

Tuesday, 31st May 2016, 6:00 am

It’s a question I knew was coming and I’m sure at some point it will be followed with the inevitable ‘Can I have a mobile phone?’ and ‘Can I sign up to Facebook?’

My answer to the television question was a simple and straightforward ‘no’.

I explained to Caitlin that bedrooms are not for watching TV and that she just doesn’t need one.

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But I soon realised I had scored an embarrassing own goal when she fired another question my way which left me slightly bamboozled.

‘But then why do you have a TV in your bedroom daddy?’ she said. Er.

But I stood by my decision.

Both my daughters love watching television and they can often be found parked in front of the box in the living room watching the brightly-coloured childrens’ channels with shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Bing Bunny.

But I’d worry that having a TV in their bedroom would affect that important human process a lot of us can often ignore – sleep.

It’s clear that without that all-important slumber for your body and mind you can feel grumpy, snappy, disorientated, emotional and stressed.

I’ve witnessed that this is the case for children as well as adults.

While it’s important as a parent to try to get as much sleep as possible, I always try to appreciate how important it is for my children to get enough sleep.

According to the NHS website a lack of sleep can cause a child to become hyperactive and disagreeable.

For my daughters, aged five and six, they advise about 11 hours of shut-eye a night.

With lighter evenings and mornings this isn’t always easy and sometimes getting them to drift off to dreamland can be difficult and I believe a television would add to the problems.

Yes, there would be positives to attaching a flatscreen TV to Caitlin’s pink bedroom wall.

More peace and quiet for me would probably be one of them.

But I think that’s lazy on my part.

I believe that by keeping the TV out of the bedroom I am encouraging them to read more.

At night they are tucked into bed with their teddy on one side and my secret weapon, a book, on the other.

Reading at night has that magic power of making their eyes feel heavy.

Half- an-hour later I’ll check on them and they are usually fast asleep with the book still in their hands.

Mission accomplished.


As any parent knows, there are many things involved with raising your child that don’t always come easy.

Ask anyone who is responsible for a small human life and they will tell you something they find challenging.

It might be getting your child to eat their vegetables, or it might be getting them to drift off to sleep when all they want to do is talk and play.

I’ve experienced both of these parenting obstacles.

But I’ve found a new hurdle that comes with being a dad to two daughters aged five and six – shoelaces.

Yes that’s right, those things that fasten your shoes or trainers.

You see, Caitlin has learnt how to tie her laces but hasn’t quite mastered the art of untying them when she takes them off, leaving them in a big knotty mess.

So along with the many things I have to do day-to-day as a hands-on dad, I can now add the role of Chief Shoelace Knot Undoer to the list.