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How to get your kids to sleep on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the one night of the year that parents really need their kids to sleep. However, with all the anticipation and excitement of what is to come, some children find it really hard to drift off, and some really want to see Santa, which can mean a very late night for parents and everyone feeling shattered on Christmas Day.

So, if you are feeling more Christmas fear than Christmas cheer, here are my tips to ensure that everyone gets a good night’s sleep to allow Santa to get his job done on time.


Children thrive on the predictability of routine and things can get a little out of sync during the festive period – it is ‘silly season’ after all, but keeping to usual meal and bedtimes will really help ensure that the kids don’t end up over-tired, which can be a big factor in sleep problems at night. If you are not at home for Christmas, make sure that your child has familiarity – think toys, books and even bedding from home and keep to their same bedtime routine.

Fresh air

Fresh air has long been a recipe for success in helping children to sleep and coupled with some physical exercise, they are guaranteed to sleep well. So, head out for a lovely walk or go on a bike ride or just spend a couple of hours at the park. Try to head out in the morning when there is more sunlight which can help to strengthen the body clock for night-time sleep. Raining? Get the waterproofs and wellies on, and go enjoy some puddle jumping, or if that’s really not your thing, head to the pool for a swim or soft play to burn off some energy.

Cut out the sugar

It is Christmas and it would be mean to ban sugar altogether, but a sugar fix close to bedtime does not help with getting children to drift off. Try to limit the sugary snacks consumed to earlier in the day and instead, in the hour before bed, try foods that keep kids fuller for longer, such as a warm cup of milk with chopped apple or banana with peanut butter. These will help them to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply – a necessity for parents (and Santa) on Christmas Eve!

Avoid screen time in the hour before bed

Too much screen time can have a real impact on children’s sleep, so in the hour (at least) before bed, it is best to avoid screens. Instead, play a board game (great for helping to tire their brains) do a Christmas puzzle together, or snuggle up and read some lovely Christmas stories.

Tell them that Santa won’t come

This works for some children, but it can stress others meaning that they can’t sleep, and a vicious cycle ensues. Instead, if they are really struggling to drift off, let them listen to a podcast or audio book. This will help focus their mind elsewhere and not on worry that Santa won’t come if they don’t sleep.

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