Christmas is a magical time, not just for children but for parents too. However, all the excitement in anticipation of Santa coming and the break from regular routine can leave your child restless and make bedtime a battle.
The battle to get our children to bed the night before Christmas stems from a few things including excitement, sugary foods, and a change in routine. So how can you help your children get to sleep and stay asleep on Christmas Eve?
We’ve rounded up the top 5 tips below for helping your little one’s sleep so that Santa can deliver their presents on time!
Stick to your child’s bedtime routine
With all the excitement of Christmas, it can be tempting to allow your child to stay up past their bedtime, after all – it’s only once a year, what harm will it do? But sticking to your child’s bedtime routine will not only help them to relax, but it’ll also help them to fall asleep quicker too.
Rather than watching a festive film right up to before bedtime, why not give your children a bath and then read a story to them about Santa and the Reindeers or share with them your experiences of Santa as a child. This will help to soothe your child and give them one-on-one interaction with you that they often crave.
Limit sugar intake
As tempting as it can be to give your child a little treat from their selection box, you should try and keep meals as regular and as nutritious as possible. Too much sugar before bedtime can have a negative effect on your child’s sleep, meaning a cranky child on Christmas day – and no one wants that!
Instead of sugary treats, we suggest healthy substitutes such as warm milk, or even a little section of dark chocolate as this typically contains much less sugar and contains magnesium which helps to promote rest and relaxation.
If you struggle with healthy substitutes then set a cut-off time for sweet treats a few hours before you put your little ones to bed, and, if you have family over ensure they are aware of this rule too.
Enjoying time outdoors on Christmas Eve will go a long way when trying to get your little ones off to a peaceful slumber. Not only is the outdoors great for boosting their mood, but by going on a family walk or playing games outdoor, they will also improve their immune system, digestion and will tire out much earlier due to burning excess energy. This will help your child to fall asleep quickly and fuss-free before the big man arrives with presents. It may also become a much-loved Christmas Eve tradition that the whole family benefits from.
Limit screen time
If your child has a TV in their room or likes to watch movies and TV shows on a tablet or other electronic device, be sure to put this away at least an hour before bedtime. Although it can be tempting to snuggle up with your child and watch a festive movie right up until they’re sleepy, the blue light from electronics will actually stimulate your little one’s brain before bed and make it a struggle for them to drift off to sleep.
Christmas is a special occasion, so of course, you want it to be fun. But instead of watching a movie or TV show so close to bedtime, consider reading some Christmas-themed books or doing a Christmas-based activity together such as crafts, colouring, or baking cookies for Santa.
Whatever activity you opt for, ensure it’s soothing and doesn’t get them too excited before bedtime.
Few activities can be as soothing as taking a warm and relaxing bath – and that’s especially true for little ones. Not only does a warm bath help to soothe your little one’s achy muscles from running around and playing all day, but it also helps to calm their nervous system and get them into a truly relaxed state which helps promote deep and soothing sleep.
We suggest using water that is warm (but not too hot) and filling the bathtub with a relaxing lavender-scented bubble bath or Epsom salts to add an extra dose of calmness and serenity. Babies and toddlers may also benefit from a little massage with baby oil, or a child-friendly moisturiser afterwards, just rub it into their back, tummy, legs, and arms to help relax them for sleep.
Before telling your child that Santa won’t come if they’re still awake, try out some of our tips. It should make getting your little one to sleep much easier.