Dave Gibson


Winter sleep tips

How To Help Your Kids Sleep On Christmas Eve

Given that Santa is still coming if not social distancing this year those with small children will face the annual challenge of getting kids your kids to sleep on time on Christmas Eve.

The main aim in all of this make sure that they aren’t grumpy on the big day itself.  If you can get a reasonable Christmas Eve in yourself all the better.

Here are ten top tips on how to help your kids get to sleep on Christmas Eve so you can have a wide awake Christmas Day

Top Sleep tips for Christmas Eve

1) Agree on a plan for Christmas Eve
Set out and agree a plan for the whole day. Make the morning active, to tire out your children. Start to wind them down in the late afternoon. Then after the evening meal make things slower and more relaxing to prepare your children for bedtime. Set bed and wake times which everyone agrees with. If you are going away or changing sleeping arrangements agree who is sleeping where and in what bed too.

2) Wake earlier on Christmas Eve too
If the plan is for the family to wake up earlier than normal on Christmas Day you could stagger the change by adjusting wake times on Christmas Eve.  For example, if you are planning to allow your children to get up at 6.00am on Christmas Day and their normal wake up time is 7am then set the alarm for 6.30am on Christmas Eve. This helps their body clock adjustment easier to cope with, and in turn helps them to fall to sleep a lot easier Christmas Eve evening .

If your children happen to wake up early on Christmas Eve anyways it’s always better to go with the flow. Their excitement will be hard to stop, and it’s best to use up that energy early. This in fact gives you more time to tire them out during the day.

3) Make the morning physically active
Get your children outside to exercise. This burns off energy and provides a deeper and more refreshing night’s sleep. A long family walk is great and playing energetic sport even better. Light in the day also strengthens the body clock for the evening sleep.

4) Have boisterous games in the afternoon not the evening
Plan all the more boisterous indoor games into the afternoon rather than the evening. Loud music is better in the afternoon too. Then plan calmer evening activity, such as family board or card games and reading which is more conducive to sleep.

5) Cut out the sweets early
A sugar load late on any afternoon can affect sleep. Added to the excitement of Christmas your children may well finder it harder to get to sleep. If you do have relatives visiting in your bubble make sure they  know not to offer treats late on too.

6) Technology curfew
Keep all the normal tech curfews. Ideally all technology should be switched off at least an hour before bedtime and preferably two hours.

7) Do a bedtime countdown
Give your children plenty of notice with 30, 20 and 10-minute warnings to the agreed bedtime.

8) Keep the routine going
Our brains like habits. Therefore stick with their usual bedtime routine, i.e. warm bath, brush teeth and story. Also, if you are the part of the family which is visiting this year, try to make the bedtime routine as familiar as possible. So bring toys, books, and even bedding and their favourite pillow to make your child feel secure and ‘at home’. This also avoids something called the first night affect where we tend to stay more alert in a strange bed.

9) Allow extra time to wind down
If you think it’s going to take them longer to get to sleep, get them into bed ½ hour earlier to allow for the additional excitement. Remind little ones that Santa won’t come until they are sound asleep.

10) Set a good example.

Children tend to copy what we do. They also ‘buy into rules’ if they think they are fair. Therefore, always set a good example by going to bed on time too. This helps your children understand that they won’t be missing out on any more fun. For more tips on kids sleep see our post https://thesleepsite.co.uk/how-to-help-your-children-sleep-better/

I hope these tips give you a few ideas on how to reduce the stress, and get your children to sleep easily on Christmas Eve.