I remember, as a child, Christmas Eve being the single most exciting ‘eve’ of the year. Placing the tray at the bottom of the chimney with a mince pie, carrot and glass of whiskey ready for Santa was just one of many rituals our family would do.
But the pinnacle, was hanging out our stockings; knowing (hoping) that in just a few hours, they’d be filled with presents.
It was this exciting thought that resulted in me struggling to get to sleep.
I have vivid memories of tossing & turning, trying to get to sleep with the knowledge that once I’m asleep, time will go much quicker. But that’s the exact point, trying to get to sleep only means that you can’t get to sleep.
Children everywhere will be trying their hardest to get to sleep and even more importantly, parents everywhere will be trying desperately to get their children to sleep. An impossible task for many.
So to help matters, we’ve compiled 6 tips to get your children to sleep on Christmas Eve:
1. Stick to the normal bedtime routines
As best you can anyway. Having the normal bedtime routine will indicate that it is time to go to sleep. Teds routine is as follows:
Play on the bed
But he is only 18 months, and still not terribly conscious of Christmas.
2. Have an active/busy day
I don’t mean run around like crazy but make sure that you plan into the day some time for the kids to burn off any excess energy. Apparently, every inactive hour during the day adds on 3 extra minutes to fall asleep!
3. Don’t allow your child to get overtired.
When Ted hasn’t napped well during the day, it’s harder for him to fall asleep. He’s over tired. The same applies to kids generally, I’m sure.
4. Count down
I always find that giving warnings and plenty of notice helps children when it’s time for something else. At soft play, I’ll give a 10, 5 and 2 minute warning so it’s not a surprise when it’s time to go. The same principle can be used here. Give warnings of when bed time is coming. This allows the child to process and accept it.
5. Down time
Whilst we have already said to make sure your child is active during the day, they also need some down time just before the bedtime routine. Watch a film, play with some quiet toys or read with low light. This tells their body, it’s time for resting.
6. Threaten them with Santa
If all else fails, and they just won’t go to sleep, just tell them that Santa won’t come whilst they’re awake. That’ll get them to sleep if nothing else does.
These aren’t hard and fast rules, just a few hints and tips that you might want to employ in order to help your children get to sleep. Just think, once they’re asleep, you can put your feet up with a glass of wine and watch the Christmas Eve specials. Or do that last bit of wrapping!