With the allure of tomorrow’s presents, food, fun times and of course the magic of Santa’s visit, it can be hard to calm overexcited children before bed.
You probably have a million other things to take care of on Christmas Eve, so the last thing you need is little Jessie padding to your bedroom door every five minutes, still buzzing with excitement, or little Tommy’s tantrum (staying up to see Santa arrive is much more appealing than going to sleep, understandably).
With our tips you’ll have your little Christmas monsters settled and ready for sleep – so you can spend the rest of your own sleepless night wrapping presents and cooking for Christmas Day in peace.
1. Keep a routine
It’s important to stick to established routines, even with all the extra excitement. Keep bedtime at the same time (as much as you can!), and make sure the pre-bed routine stays the same – showering, brushing teeth and a book before bed should all happen as usual to help your child understand it’s time for sleep.
2. Distract them
Take them to see the Christmas lights, let them wrap some presents (perhaps with brown paper they can decorate themselves) or help them to bake Santa’s cookies. All of this will keep their focus off the next morning and will help to tire them out for bedtime!
3. Celebrate Christmas Eve in small ways
Putting on a soothing and familiar Christmas film will help them feel like they’re celebrating the night without having to be too excited. Putting on their special Christmas pyjamas and settling down in front of the television with a glass of warm milk is a great way to wind down on Christmas Eve while still making it fun and special.
4. Open something on Christmas Eve
If your child is absolutely consumed with the anticipation of opening presents, a good idea is to introduce the “open one the night before” tradition. A small gift they can open on Christmas Eve can help to curb their excitement, especially if it’s a soft toy they can take to bed with them.
Alternatively, doing up a Christmas Eve package with gifts for them to enjoy on Christmas Eve (like Christmas pyjamas, a Christmas movie, a small Christmas toy and a note from Santa – if he’s not too busy!) can help with the present-opening excitement without cutting into the present pile or getting them more riled up for what else they received.
5. Enlist Santa’s help
Remind your Christmas tyke it’s not too late to have their name moved from the ‘Nice’ to the ‘Naughty’ list – make sure your child knows that if they don’t go to bed (and stay in bed), Santa might skip your house. Don’t add to their anxiety by putting on a time limit for sleep, but explain that the way Santa’s magic works is that children must be asleep before he visits. Talk about what it might be like when Santa arrives, and what the reindeer would be like, to help them enjoy the magic without stressing about seeing Santa or accidentally being awake when he arrives.
How do you settle the children down for Christmas? Let us know your tips and tricks below!