It’s Christmas Eve, the anticipation is mounting and the kids can hardly contain themselves with excitement, and who can blame them really! This is, after all, the most important night of the year, with the imminent arrival of Santa Claus.
However, trying to get your children to calm down and get the sleep they need for Christmas day is no easy task. As a mother of a 10 and 14-year-old, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to make Christmas Eve bedtime a smooth process for the whole family.
How to Get Your Kids to Sleep Early on Christmas Eve
#1. An Early Bedtime Habit Before Christmas Eve
Adopt a slightly earlier sleep routine in advance of the big night. In the few days leading up to Christmas, try and get them to bed a bit earlier. By the time Christmas Eve comes, you should be able to get them up to bed at the new time without too much complaining!
#2. Keep Them Active
Make sure they get some outdoor exercise such as a winter walk. The fresh air will help to tire them out before bedtime. If the weather isn’t in your favour, then set up an indoor disco. At least an hour of jigging and dancing in the afternoon will have them worn out.
#3. Minimise Sugar During the Day
Too much sugar can make kids hyperactive, especially towards the end of the day. Keep treats for the morning and minimise them in the afternoon.
#4. Watch a Relaxing Festive Movie
Watching a festive movie together on Christmas Eve is a lovely family tradition and can help tire out little eyes. Avoid any movies that are likely to hype them up though, and pick a nice relaxing movie instead, like The Snowman, for everyone to watch together.
#5. Turn Off Screens Early
Make sure to switch off all devices, such as tablets and computers early, well before bedtime, to allow little brains to calm down and relax.
#6. Begin Bedtime Routines Earlier
Get everyone’s teeth brushed and ready for sleep as early as you can. The bedtime routine on Christmas Eve will take much longer than usual with all the excitement and horseplay. Plus, you need time to hang up stockings, get out the milk and cookies for Santa, and the reindeer food sprinkled outside.
#7. Bath Time
Baths can be a great way to encourage relaxation in kids, so pop them all in before bedtime. Next step is jammies and then downstairs for a final snack. You can’t forget to set out Santa and Rudolph’s treats before bedtime too.
#8. Warm Milky Drinks
Drinking a glass of warm milk before bed will help you to sleep better, it’s not just an old wives’ tale. Milk is rich in tryptophan, which helps in the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin. For those who are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy, almond or soya milk will also work to relax your little one before they hit the pillow.
#9. Read a Christmas Bedtime Story
Pick a classic Christmas story to read to your child once they are tucked up. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas or The Gift of the Magi are two favourites in our house.
#10. If Your Child Wakes in the Night
If your child wakes during the night, which is inevitable, keep the disruption short, walk them to the toilet and back to bed, tell them to remember that Santa can’t come if they are awake.