Forget wrapping the presents, doing endless amounts of food shopping and avoiding family arguments; for many parents, the real stress of Christmas lies in getting excited kids to sleep on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical time for children with plenty of anticipation and excitement, plus the break from usual routines can make them restless. No wonder they struggle to sleep!
With the promise of Father Christmas soon to arrive, a peaceful night’s sleep is not exactly top of most children’s lists. Excited little ones fight their parents’ repeating urging to go to bed, desperate to stay awake and catch a glimpse of the exciting presents to come.
Sound familiar? Don’t panic! At Kally Sleep we’ve put together some handy tips to help children drift off as easily as possible (even with all the excitement!). So with them safely tucked up in bed you can also chill out ahead of the big day.
Head outside for some fresh air
Enjoying time outside during the day goes a long way towards a good night’s sleep. So whether rain or shine, get the kids running around in the garden or the park on Christmas Eve and have some fun. Don’t forget to wrap up warm though of course – the last thing anyone wants for Christmas is a cold!
Good old fashioned fresh air makes our bodies produce more serotonin, which in turn leaves us feeling happy and relaxed. We naturally burn more energy when we’re outdoors too (especially in chillier weather) so it’s the perfect way to tire kids out.
Quick tip: Really looking to wear the kids out? Take them off to a swimming pool, theme park or local soft play area. All that running, walking and climbing is exhausting!
Stick to a routine
This one might be easier said than done but it’s still worth keeping as much of a normal routine as you can – even if it takes longer or happens later than usual! Chat to your little ones about tomorrow, how it’s going to be different and what they can expect. Then try to get back to normal bedtime routines once January comes around.
Quick tip: If you’re visiting friends or family over Christmas and you’re planning to stay overnight, talk to your little ones about what you expect of them. If there will other children in the house, they may behave differently to yours so confusion and clashes before bedtime are best avoided.
Mind the sugar
One of the best things about Christmas is the food! Lots of delicious sweets, chocolate, cakes and pies – plus of course all the sugary drinks. But whilst it’s lovely to indulge, keep an eye on how much sugar your kids are consuming. Sugar can stimulate the body (we’ve all heard of “sugar highs”) which can then have a negative effect on quality of sleep. Too much sugar can also make it hard to get to sleep in the first place.
Quick tip: Choose a cut off time a few hours before bedtime and avoid offering sweets and sugary treats after this time. Christmas can still be fun with lots of stuffing yourselves to bursting point, but for the sake of a decent night’s sleep it’s still worth having some boundaries.
Try a bedtime distraction
If your child’s brain is buzzing with excitement on Christmas Eve and sleep is looking less and less likely, try getting them to settle with an audio book or some quiet music. It might well help them to focus their minds on something, rather than laying there attempting to sleep before Santa arrives. Once they’re calm and settled they’re much more likely to nod off naturally – and not still be wide-eyed at midnight.
Quick tip: There’s loads of podcasts for kids online which you might find useful, or try downloading some books on Amazon Audible. Often you can pick up a free trial so no need to reach for your wallet (bonus!)
Take time to relax
Let’s face it, it’s been a busy year and frankly the whole family could do with a break. So why not take the time on Christmas Eve to chill out together – do some baking, enjoy a film or play a game perhaps. Set aside some time away from the internet or mobile phones and you’ll be amazed at how everyone relaxes and the kids calm down a lot too. This makes it much more likely they’ll sleep come bedtime – after all, tomorrow is about toys, madness and mayhem, but Christmas Eve doesn’t have to be.
Quick tip: A great way to relax babies and younger toddlers is by using some basic relaxation techniques. Cuddle them tightly to you while you breathe deeply and you’ll both feel calmer and de-stressed.
Finally, make sure they have a nice cosy pillow too!
In order to get the best night’s sleep, your pillow especially should be soft, supportive and comfortable. So why not treat your little one to a Kally Kids Pillow? Perfect for ages 3 and up, it’s designed to help your child get to sleep and stay asleep – even with all the Christmas excitement!
As your little ones grows, the Kally Pillow will offer gentle support for their back, spine and neck. The washable cotton Jersey pillow cover comes free, and is wonderfully soft against their skin. These pillows are breathable keeping them nice and cool and there’s a great range of fun designs to choose from too so there’s something for everyone!