Christmas is almost here with lots of fun, food and family time. It often starts on Christmas Eve with slightly less sleep, with getting your little ones to sleep a little stressful due to the excitement of Santa coming.
Here are my ten tips to help your children get the best possible sleep and to create the essential time you need on Christmas Eve
1) Agree on a plan for the whole family on Christmas Eve
This is especially important if there are unusual sleeping arrangements in terms of who is sleeping where and it what bed. Get a plan for the day and evening too. Make the morning active, to tire out your children and the latter part of the day more relaxing to prepare your children for bedtime. Set bed and wake times which everyone agrees with. Share the detail of the plan too in terms of where and when you are going.
2) Start Christmas Eve morning early
Lots of children naturally wake early on Christmas Eve as the run up to the big day and presents gets more and more exciting. If this happens go with the flow as an early rise on Christmas Eve helps to set everyone’s body clock to start early in preparation for Christmas day and will also give your children longer to tire themselves out during the day.
3) Make the morning active
Get in lots of exercise outside as this both 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.
4) No sweets after past late afternoon
A late sugar load on top of the excitement of the day will make it harder to get to sleep. Make sure relatives and friends who are visiting or being visited in the evening know not to offer treats late on too.
5) Have all the loud music and boisterous games in the afternoon
As then the evening can be calmer and more conducive to sleep.
6) Try to keep the stimuli low as bedtime approaches
Swap computer games and devices to board and card games at least one hour before bedtime.
7) Do a bedtime countdown
Give your children plenty of notice with 30, 20 and 10-minute warnings to the agreed bedtime.
8) If they’re overexcited allow extra time to get into bed
You might need to extend the time allowed for your nightly routine if your child is excited and can’t quieten down as easily as normal.
9) Allow extra time to wind down
Ideally, you would stick with your usual bedtime routine, i.e. bath, brush teeth and story. But, 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. If you are away, try to make the bedtime routine as familiar as possible – and bring toys, books, Moshi Twilight app and even bedding and their favourite pillow to make your child feel secure and ‘at home’.
10) Give them a positive association with sleep beyond Christmas!
Many children struggle when parents leave the room. A friend who was dealing with this issue has recently pointed me to Moshi Twilight sleep stories. The app cleverly combines sleep stories with relaxing music and soundscapes to aid your child to drift off to sleep. The audio has been carefully designed to slow down in rhythm to naturally induce sleep. After you have gone through your normal bedtime routine and your child is tucked up in bed, you can turn down the lights, play the Christmas sleep story and quietly leave the room. To get your routine set for the night of Christmas Eve start playing Moshi Twilight stories a few nights before Christmas Eve so Santa’s arrival is not the only thing they are looking forward to.
I hope these tips help your little ones fall asleep this Christmas Eve.
With this festive season read my tips to help you through the party season here.
Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year. I’ll be returning with new blog posts in 2018.