We know little ones can get very excited in the run up to Christmas – here’s how to make sure they actually sleep the night before the big day.
From leaving midnight snacks out for Santa and his reindeer to late-night carol singing, there are lots of reasons why bedtime routines might fall into disarray on Christmas Eve. Getting children to go to bed (and stay there) can be challenging at the best of times, without all the excitement of the following day. With that in mind, Walton Holcomb, a sleep expert at thedozyowl.co.uk has provided his top 5 best tips to help parents settle their children ahead of Santa’s arrival.
Do Something Active as a Family on Christmas Eve
Being active is a great way to ensure your little ones get enough sleep, as the level of exercise as well as mental stimulation will reinforce a need to sleep and recharge.
Walton Holcomb says: ‘Having a family outing pre-Christmas is a fantastic way to bond and get in the spirit before the busy day. After an action packed day of fun your children are sure to be sleepier than usual when the time comes to tuck them into bed.”
Something Nice to Drink Before Bed Time
It’s not just Santa that likes a little something to drink on Christmas Eve! Certain drinks can help your child get their much needed rest before bed time – although we’ll leave the brandy for Santa Claus.
Cherry juice is currently being trialled as a cure for insomnia due to the presence of melatonin and tryptophan which helps people sleep. Walton adds: “Cherry juice is a great option for children as they tend to have a sweet tooth, meaning it’ll be more enticing, not to mention the festive red colour is sure to help make this a suitable Christmas treat.”
As a Christmas treat, a nice warm cup of hot chocolate at night could be just the ticket for a restful Christmas slumber. “The sleep benefits from a nice warm mug of hot chocolate are mostly psychological – a lovely relaxing warm drink can really put you in the right mental state to drift off, ” says Walton.
“Although not something you should give your children regularly, as a treat at Christmas it could be the perfect way to help your child sleep.”
Take Their Mind off Christmas
Sometimes the most effective way to get your child to doze off ahead of Christmas is to simply take their mind somewhere else to calm their excitement.
Walton says: “Taking your child’s mind away from the festivities and onto something else can have a soothing effect, the traditional and timeless way of doing this is through a bedtime story. This distraction and slowing down of pace should help your little one drop off.”
Lead by Example
As a parent, you should lead by example heading to bed early, emphasising the importance of a good nights’ sleep. “Children will be a lot more inclined to go to bed on time if they see their parents have also gone to bed. It also helps to alleviate the feeling they are missing out on fun if you’re also in bed,” says Walton.
Wake Them up Early on Christmas Eve
If you wake up your children early the night before, this allows you more time to tire them out during the day – and seeing as they will likely wake up early on Christmas day, it will give them more sleep ahead of the big day.
If All Else Fails…Blame Santa
With a house full of guests, your little one may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going to bed. If you still find you have a stubborn and weary young one – hanging onto the bannisters in protest – the suggestion that Father Christmas only leaves presents for children who are asleep might just be enough of an incentive to encourage lights-out. At least that’s what the elves told me…