Christmas Conundrums: getting the children to sleep on Christmas Eve

Christmas is the most magical time of year for children. With Nativity plays, carol services and visits to Santa’s grotto, plenty is done to ensure that the little ones feel the special Christmas spirit that the festive season brings.

After the advent calendar is looking bare on Christmas Eve, the excitement for the big day is at its highest. Come the evening, sleep is often the last thing on our children’s minds. The excitement of the impending visit from St. Nick is enough to keep any child awake, and with stockings to hang and mince pies to put out, it’s easy to get carried away with time and neglect the usual bedtime routine.

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That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you get the little ones drifting peacefully into the land of nod on the night before Christmas…

·      Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford told the Huffington Post that keeping the family active during the day can help burn off some of the excess Christmas excitement. Rather than staying in and watching Christmas films, why not go out for a winter walk in the countryside?

·      Give them plenty of warning that bed time is coming up whilst doing the traditional Christmas Eve activities – “After we’ve put your stocking out it will be bath time and then we can read a story in bed”.

·      If staying away from home, Professor Espie suggests trying to bring consistency to your routine. This might be ensuring that bath and bed time happen as normal, and bringing along familiar bedding and toys to help your children feel settled.

If all else fails, the reminder that Santa only visits children when they are asleep might be enough incentive to help them sleep well and allow the whole family to wake up feeling full of festive cheer!