I remember, as a child, Christmas Eve being the single most exciting ‘eve’ of the year. Placing the tray at the bottom of the chimney with a mince pie, carrot and glass of whisky ready for Santa was just one of many rituals our family would do.
But the pinnacle was hanging out our stockings; knowing (hoping) that in just a few hours, they’d be filled with presents.
It was this exciting thought that resulted in me struggling to get to sleep.
I have vivid memories of tossing & turning, trying to get to sleep with the knowledge that once I’m asleep, time will go much quicker. But that’s the exact point, trying to get to sleep only means that you can’t get to sleep. Children everywhere will be trying their hardest to get to sleep and even more importantly, parents everywhere will be trying desperately to get their children to sleep. An impossible task for many. So to help matters, we’ve compiled,
6 tips to get your children to sleep on Christmas Eve:
1. Stick to the normal bedtime routines
Having the normal bedtime routine will indicate that it is time to go to sleep. Ted’s routine has always been as follows: Bath Play on the bed Bottle Story Teeth Bed Tonight, we’ll be doing the exact same thing.
2. Have an active/busy day
I don’t mean run around like crazy but make sure that you plan into the day some time for the kids to burn off any excess energy. Apparently, every inactive hour during the day adds on 3 extra minutes to fall asleep!
3. Avoid sugary foods too close to bedtime
Make sure your children don’t get tempted by the cookies, treats and mince pies you’re leaving out for Father Christmas!
Planning a snack for your child about an hour before bed is a good idea to help them sleep through the night BUT make sure you avoid sugar filled foods as this could over stimulate them and have the opposite effect.
Toast, an apple, or some crackers would be good options :)
4. Don’t allow your child to get overtired.
When Ted hasn’t napped well during the day, it’s harder for him to fall asleep. He’s over tired. The same applies to kids generally, I’m sure. So when it’s time to start that bedtime routine, don’t prolong it unnecessarily.
5. Count down
I always find that giving warnings and plenty of notice helps children when it’s time for something else. At soft play, I’ll give a 10, 5 and 2 minute warning so it’s not a surprise when it’s time to go. The same principle can be used here. Give warnings of when bed time is coming. This allows the child to process and accept it.
6. Down time
Whilst we have already said to make sure your child is active during the day, they also need some down time just before the bedtime routine. Watch a film, play with some quiet toys or read with low light for their wind down time. This tells their body, it’s time for resting.
7. Banish electronic devices
It may be tempting to allow your children to have that down time in front of a Christmas movie or some game time on an iPad.
But, the blue light emitted from the screens of devices could have a negative impact on your child’s sleep, as it impacts melatonin levels, the sleep-inducing hormone.
Try creating a tech-free environment 30 minutes before bedtime; maybe a Christmas themed bedtime story instead to help your little ones nod off.
8. Threaten them with Santa
If all else fails, and they just won’t go to sleep, just tell them that Santa won’t come whilst they’re awake. That’ll get them to sleep if nothing else does. These aren’t hard and fast rules, just a few hints and tips that you might want to employ in order to help your children get to sleep. Just think, once they’re asleep, you can put your feet up with a glass of wine and watch the Christmas Eve specials.
Or do that last bit of wrapping!