Christmas is such an exciting time isn’t it? Just like everything else in life, our children pick up and thrive on the magical buzz in the air and there’s so much to take in from bright lights and sweet delights to Santa Claus and advent doors, there’s an overwhelming amount of stimulation for them across the festive season.
So, on the night before Christmas, what can we do to make sure that they get a good night’s sleep and don’t try and wait up for the big guy?
(1) Try and make Christmas Eve a busy, active day so that your children are ready to crash when bedtime rolls around. Why not do some crafts or baking in the morning before wrapping up warm and heading outside to try and burn off some energy in the afternoon?
(2) Don’t let them stay up to tire them out, it probably won’t work! The chances are your little one will likely end up overtired and find it harder to drift off in the end. If you’re doing something special and their usual bedtime isn’t an option, try and watch out for signs of tiredness so you can offer an alternative i.e. a quick snooze in their pram or somewhere soft/on you.
(3) If you can, try and stick with your normal routine so that your children recognise that it’s time to go to sleep as usual. Even if you’re away from home you can stick to the core essentials (bath, book, bed etc.) to help them to understand that bedtime is just around the corner.
(4) A few Christmas-themed accessories may help to meet their excitement levels and acknowledge the novelty of the evening whilst still promoting an easy bedtime. Think Christmas soaps, a new pair of pyjamas, a Christmas book to read before bed or a new cuddly toy.
(5) Christmas is all about wintery scenes and snow so even though it’s unlikely to be a ‘White Christmas’ if it’s cold enough try letting your kids snuggle up with a microwaveable wheat bag toy or warm their bed/cot beforehand with a hot water bottle to keep things cosy for them.
(6) Talk through your routine or countdown as you go along to reinforce that bedtime is on the horizon. Try and include things like leaving the mince pie and carrot out for Santa and Rudolph or reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ as things for them to look forward to alongside the usual bedtime activities.
(7) A warm drink of milk before bed might help them to wind down and start to get that ‘sleepy’ feeling!
(8) If they’re old enough to understand, think about setting a time in advance for opening presents the following morning to avoid your munchkins waking you up in the early hours asking to go downstairs and start the day.
(9) Turn off or limit screen time and avoid sugary snacks and treats in the run up to bedtime.
(10) Remind them that Father Christmas will only come once they’re asleep. It might be enough to convince your little ones to close their eyes and try to get some sleep despite being so excited!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas this year (and a good night’s sleep!) I’m going to be having a short break across the next few days but I’ll be back shortly with lots of new posts and ideas to share with you in the New Year.