As anyone with children will know, any night of the week can be a real battle to get your young ones into bed and to sleep incident free. However, no matter how tricky it can be for 364 days of the year, no evening comes close to the difficulty of getting your kids to sleep on Christmas eve. A heady concoction of pre Christmas day sugar, St Nicholas speculation and raw excitement means it is near to impossible to get them to bed for more than a few hours.
Here at Sleepy People we want both yourself and your children to have a good nights sleep every night of the year, so whether you have suffered this before, or are concerned about how difficult it might become in the future, here are out top tips to get those little rascals to sleep on Christmas Eve.
Have An Active Christmas Eve
It is scientifically proven that exercising can help us sleep, (for more information please read our recent blog post on it here) and parents will all have had experiences in the past (day trips, long walks, visits to the park) which have truly exhausted their children through the day, seeing them heading for bead extra early.
If you can find the time on Christmas Eve then head out and be active, you may well find your children quickly forgetting about the big day on the horizon for a short while.
Keep Sugar To A minimum
While this seems a bit obvious, it is trickier than it sounds. Over the festive period many of us over indulge and buy far too much chocolate and treats for everyone to get through by the first of January. Of course no one loves sugary treats more than your children and we all know how it can effect bed time routines if it has been gorged on close to lights out.
Keep Kids To A Normal Routine
There is no hiding the fact to your children that Santa and his reindeers will soon be overhead but that doesn’t mean you should alter their bedtime routine. You work hard during the normal working week to get them into a routine, and changing it will only reinforce the idea in their heads that something interesting is on the horizon.
This works for both you and your children and is something you can incorporate into their bed time routine. Depending on their age, try a bed time story, playing them an audio book or getting them into old fashioned reading. These activities are better than watching television or playing on a tablet as your eyes and brain is engaging less. As an adult alternative there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts available which can ease you to sleep later on and could replace that pre bed television.
Present Opening Times
The pure excitement running through your little ones will often force them up in the early hours of the morning, assuming that because they are awake that it is time to open their presents. To make sure they don’t leave their rooms until it is at least light outside, continuously remind them of a specific time that you are opening presents. This is particularly helpful if your children are a little older and can tell the time, because you can leave them with a clock for them to check instead of disturbing you every hour.
One proven method to help anyone get to sleep is to have a nice relaxing bath. This works not dissimilarly to exercise in the sense that the natural cooling down of the body following the bath helps us relax, and is therefore a great thing to just before your kids bed time to ease that bedtime routine.
While it might not be the favoured bed time drink of everyone, milk has science on its side to help you and your children off to the land of nod. Milk contains tryptophan which is an enzyme that induces sleep. If you really hate the idea of milk, a little late snack of cheese (particularly hard and mature) and crackers ca help as well.
A Little Tipple
This is most definitely a tip for you as parents and NOT your children. Many of us leave at least a little of the present wrapping until the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve, either because of a particularly tricky present or because of lack of time else where. If you are a fan of wine, then a good glass of merlot is sure to do the drink. This is because grapes contain melatonin in a form similar to the hormone we produce which tells us it is time for bed. Red is particularly better than white because it us made using the skin, whereas wine isn’t.
Having the correct duvet and pillows during the winter can make a huge difference to you and your families sleep. Way ahead of Christmas you should make sure you have a warm enough duvet (check our buying guides and this blog post for more info), the right pillow and bedding so you have the perfect place to drift off on any night of the week.
Tell Them Santa Won’t Visit
Yes, this is certainly the last resort because it is so cruel, but if your children are defying the other 6 tips then what else can you do. Those earth crushing words “go to bed or Santa won’t come here” will send a shiver down your children’s spine and see them flee under their duvet before you can say Scrooge. This is by far the meanest thing you can do, so please only break this glass in case of a metaphorical fire.
We very much hope that you can overcome your children’s excitement and get them to sleep this year because you have earnt it! Good luck and from everyone at Sleepy People, have a very merry Christmas.