One More Sleep Till Christmas…

Do you remember being a kid on Christmas Eve, trying to keep your eyes open just a little longer in the hope of seeing the first signs of Santa’s arrival? Or maybe you were desperate to go to sleep, so tomorrow would come that little bit faster. For children, at this time of year, sleep can often prove elusive. Luckily there’s plenty you can do to help calm their overexcitement and make this year a little more relaxed:

Routine: we mention this in every tips column, but it’s important, so we think it bears repeating! Seasonal events, parties, and festivities often mean that regular family patterns go out the window. But it’s at these times, when the hours can sometimes feel chaotic, that children will benefit most from the reassuring structure of their day-to-day lives.

Exercise: Being outdoors – building snowmen, sledging (if we have snow!), visiting friends and walking in the park are all great activities to enjoy with your children over the holidays. Being out in the fresh air and running around will keep them occupied as they wait for night to fall, and tire them out so that they feel sleepy later on.

Wind down: As great as it is to be active during the day, the aim at night should be to calm your children down by gently transitioning them from boisterous play to tranquil activities. An hour before bedtime, turn down the Christmas music and turn off the TV. Children often feel like they’re ‘missing out on all the fun’ if they’re sent to bed when festivities are in full swing, so make an effort to quiet down the whole household. Now’s a great time to read a Christmas story with your child or play a sedate board game.

Preview the day: it can be very comforting for children to know what is coming up next and gives them a sense of control and order over their environment. On Christmas Eve, as you tuck your child up in bed, tell them what they can expect from the day ahead. You could even agree a time with them when the family will open presents, as establishing some ground rules will stop them jumping out of bed at 4am to rush down to the tree.

If, even after putting into practice all of these techniques, your children still struggled to get to sleep on Christmas Eve, don’t worry too much. You can rest assured that the bustle and excitement of Christmas Day will have them sleeping like good little elves by the next nightfall.

However you are planning to spend Christmas, we hope that you and your family have a magical day.

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