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3 min read

getting your little ones to sleep on Christmas Eve

written by Simon Anthony

updated 25.10.2021

Child waking up, removing eye mask

Sounds impossible, right? Getting your children to finally nod off the night before arguably the biggest day of the year. Excitement is flowing and the little ones just don’t seem to be getting tired – it’s no mean feat, but we’re here to help. Christmas Eve is a day full of excitement and anticipation for most of us, whether it’s the children getting ready to see what toys and presents they’re going to be opening in the morning, or the adults doing the all-important Christmas dinner prep. But, winding down at the end of the day can be a challenge for all of us, never mind the kids. With the help of a sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakham, we’ve compiled our top tips to help you out this Christmas Eve…

reassure them about Santa

“As beloved a character as Santa is, many children are actually frightened by the thought of the man in the red suit coming down the chimney and into their bedrooms. If your little one is apprehensive, I’d recommend leaving stockings and other treats out of the bedroom and letting kids know that Santa will put all the presents in the living room.” If your little one is struggling with how to sleep on Christmas Eve because they’re worried about Santa, putting their minds at ease about this will help them relax and doze off no problem. If you need some extra help easing away any anxieties, our Kids Weighted Blanket acts as a big hug and helps them drift off.

go easy on the chocolate

If your kids can’t sleep on Christmas Eve, make sure to limit their sugar intake later on in the day. We all know sugar and sleep don’t mix. While the house will no doubt be filled with cookies, mince pies and other festive treats, avoid sugar-filled food in the evening. “Children need a good balance of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in their system to be able to drift off to sleep” says Dr. Nerina, so foods like chicken, cheese, tuna, eggs and milk are best.

take part in Christmas Eve activities

Christmas Eve activities are great for the little ones because the busier you are throughout the day, the more tired they’re likely to be on the night after burning off all that energy. A Christmas Eve walk is the perfect way to end the busy day and tire your kids out before bedtime. Physical activity combined with time outdoors makes for the perfect combination, “Not only will the fresh air wear them out, but having time away from screen will stop them being wired and unable to sleep in the evening.”

stick to bedtime routine (as much as possible!)

We all know bedtime routine with children is key to getting a good night’s sleep, so why make Christmas Eve any different? Yes, okay, we know there might be a slightly later bedtime, or you’re taking part in activities that aren’t usually done on a day to day basis. But try and stick to the bath, book and bed routine. Perhaps you have a household tradition of new pyjamas on Christmas Eve? Get the kids excited to get a bath and hop into some clean, cosy festive PJs. Bedtime story? Make it something Christmas related like The Night Before Christmas or anything Santa/reindeer related. While it’s the same routine you do every night, it’s extra special, but will still have your kids dozing off in no time as it’s what they’re used to.

create a calm sleep environment

How to get to sleep on Christmas Eve? Make sure their bedroom remains a calm environment! “Bedrooms need to be sleep-friendly and this means a calm environment free from distractions. Keep the Christmas decorations, advent calendars and other reminders of the big day out of your little one’s room”. We know it’s unlikely they will forget what special day it is, but the more relaxing you can make their sleep space the better.

Trying some, or all of these steps should make Christmas Eve a more peaceful, restful night for you and your little ones. Stick to their normal bedtime and routine as much as possible, and they’ll nod off sooner than you think.

how many sleeps until Christmas?

Check out our Christmas countdown with fun facts about Christmas for the kids, and some more tips for the lead up to Christmas day.

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