Christmas Eve is the one time of the year when children’s excitement, anticipation and eagerness is at an all-time high. It can be tough to try and get your little ones off to sleep when they’re feeling restless and agitated but Lisa Artis from The Sleep Charity shares her Santa Sleep Secrets, to help settle young children to sleep when sleep is the last thing on their minds…
Keep them active
Keeping little ones active during ‘Christmas Eve-day’ helps to tire them out, burn off excess energy and get them sleep-primed. Look for your local family walk or even themed treasure hunts to get out and about in the fresh air. Make sure you factor in some calming hand-eye coordination activities for the evening.
Keep to routine
Kids thrive on routine so just because it’s Christmas Eve doesn’t mean everything should change. Keep as consistent as possible though you may want to consider a slightly longer wind down routine if your child is particularly excited. Remember to turn off screens an hour before bedtime and if bath time is part of the sleepy routine, keep it quiet and calm.
Talk about Santa
As well as helping them wind down, a bath can be a great chance to chat calmly about what the night might bring – and what they should do if they wake up in the night. Young children are more sensitive and easily scared than we realise so chat to them about how friendly Santa & Co are. Consider swapping your normal bedtime story for a Christmas themed tale or even a carol. You can also remind them that Santa won’t come until they are fast asleep.
Watch what they eat and drink
Christmas choccies, savoury snacks and mince pies are often on display as part of the Christmas festivities. Keep them high up to avoid temptation and try to make sure young children don’t over-eat. The ensuing sugar rush could keep them bouncing long into the night! On Christmas Eve, encourage them to leave a festive milky drink for Santa (and carrots for the reindeer) – and to have one themselves too.
And so to bed
Everyone loves the cutesy Christmas PJs but make sure they are comfy, and not scratchy. Check that the room is at Goldilocks standard (not too hot, not too cold, ideally 16 – 18 degrees Celsius) and that there are blackout curtains that help keep light out for as long as possible. Finally, if, as you read that story, your child’s bed felt a bit lumpy, sounded a bit creaky or looked too small for them, don’t forget the Christmas holidays are full of New Year sales ads – lots of them for beds. Might be worth bagging a bargain to help make sure they sleep soundly all next year.
Check out our blog on how to keep warm in bed this winter, on The Sleep Charity’s website.