The idea of Father Christmas coming is enough to get anyone excited! So it’s no wonder that it can be harder than normal to get your little ones to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. In theory a later night on Christmas Eve isn’t the worst thing to happen, but we often find that this can lead to children who are grumpy and tired on Christmas Day itself (well maybe once all the presents have been opened!). With that in mind, there are some things you can do to help kids settle down to sleep on Christmas Eve so that Santa can fill up their stockings undisturbed.
If your kids are anything like my toddler, tiring him out during the day is a sure way to make sleep come easier. This year we have all gotten used to outdoor walking as a family and you can make this more fun on Christmas Eve by going out spotting Christmas decorations or doing window advent calendar spotting, something we have seen in our local areas. You could even make your own Christmas bingo cards, ticking off when you find a star, make your own Christmas wreath etc. The key is to provide plenty of stimulation and activity so that they are tired at bedtime.
Another tip is to avoid Christmas movies before bed (hear me out, I’m not a total Scrooge I promise). We love Christmas films in our house, but they are often high in stimulation. Try and keep them as a pre-dinner activity as the time before bed should be as calm as possible. On that note, try and keep sugar to a minimum too. They will be running on enough natural adrenaline as it is…OK, maybe I am Scrooge!
New Christmas pyjamas are a great way to entice your little one into bed. Who doesn’t love snuggling up in cosy, new PJ’s with cute festive pictures on them …. ohhh ummm…. or so my wife tells me! Christmas Eve boxes are increasingly popular and pyjamas make a great addition – the ones from My 1st Years are a huge hit in our house as not only do they look gorgeous, they are really great quality too.
I know that large Christmas gatherings aren’t possible this year, but I do recommend that Mum, Dad or whoever normally does bedtime, does so on Christmas Eve too. Stick to your bedtime routine where possible as maintaining consistency in controllable areas allows you to carry out lots of the fun Christmas traditions with limited disruption. There are going to be additional activities on Christmas Eve like leaving out milk for Santa or hanging stockings. To makes sure they know what’s coming next, countdown to bedtime e.g. 30 minutes until we go up for your bath, 10 minutes until… This gives little ones plenty of notice which reduces anxiety and transitions into bedtime.
But most importantly, enjoy! Christmas Eve is my Wife’s favourite day of the year as she loves the excitement and anticipation of the big day. Use that natural buzz to keep you kids stimulated all day and sleep will take over.