It’s tricky enough to get children to go to bed and sleep once there on a normal night. Throw in some school holidays and an impending visit by a bearded guy in a red suit and what you often have is a hyperactive child or two and a potential bedtime ‘situation’. While a little excitement is to be expected, the logistics of Christmas do become more difficult if little ones refuse to take forty winks and of course, no one wants to deal with grumpy sleep-deprived kids on Christmas Day. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together three key steps for making Christmas Eve better at bedtime…
Keep kids active
There’s a lot of prep to be done for the big day and this means it’s easy to leave kids to their own devices for long periods of time but the aim of your game is to tire the children out. This might mean planning a schedule so you can fit in all of those last minute jobs or calling on the assistance of grandparents to lend a hand – use the tools at your disposal. Get children to help out in the kitchen or think of activities you can do as a whole family – why not start a Christmas Eve family tradition? This could be the first year of your annual Christmas Eve walk or family ice skating trip. Activities don’t have to take all day but by picking something energetic to do in the afternoon rather than watching TV, the kid’s eyelids will hopefully be feeling heavy as bedtime approaches.
Get Santa set up out of the way early
The Santa preparation ritual is part and parcel of Christmas, though you may want to put the mince pies and carrots out before story time. Sticking to usual bedtimes in usual rooms will add some sense of normality and work with children’s body clocks. Ensure getting clean for Santa happens before story time too – you don’t want kids to get back out of bed when they’re starting to get into a sleepy state.
Stick to a sensible sleep routine
Children may ask to sleep in each other’s rooms but if they don’t usually share a set of bunk beds there’s a good chance they will stay awake chatting. Bathing before bedtime with some soothing bubbles should also encourage sleepiness. Some experts recommend putting kids to bed a little earlier on the big night so that if they do take longer to get to sleep it balances out but it may be better to stick to their routine.
It’s always going to be difficult to get kids to nod off on what is for many the most exciting night of the year, but as we all know – Santa doesn’t come when you’re awake – and it doesn’t hurt to remind little ones of that fact!