The guests have arrived, the presents are wrapped, the shops are closed & the carrots & whiskey are out for Father Christmas & the Reindeer BUT the kids are still up jumping about in total excitement and not in the least ready for bedtime.
Getting kids to sleep can be challenging at the best of times, but add the excitement of Christmas parties, added sugar and lack of routine can all contribute to making Christmas Eve’s bedtime plans a nightmare & may just spoil the run up to the BIG Day!
Here are 7 top tips to get kids off to sleep before Santa stops by:
- Be active during the day. … go for family walks, ride bikes & get outside playing and into the fresh air. There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help your kids fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
- Focus on doing one thing at a time. Don’t have the music blaring if your kids are playing a game. Don’t have the TV going if your kids are singing along to music, don’t have multiple technology open and on the go. It over stimulates your child and makes winding down more difficult.
- Stick to bedtime routines and rituals as best as you can … keep to your winding down routine e.g no technology for an hour before bedtime, bath time, brushing teeth, bedtime story and hot milky drink. A consistent bedtime routine, or a set of specific ‘rituals’ before turning out the lights will signal to your children that it’s time to get ready for bed and to go to sleep. If you’re staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual.
- Act before your child gets overtired. … pre-empt over tiredness by doing gentle activities like jigsaws, board games and reading. Most children are reluctant to admit that they’re tired – even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with grandma or cousins staying over. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to get overtired, which is often the driver for ‘hyper’ & naughty behaviour.
- Give plenty of notice. … give your kids plenty of notice that bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the film will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for your favourite story.”A good solution is to use an egg timer, or this fun stopwatch timer as it will be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed. http://www.online-stopwatch.com/bomb-countdown/full-screen/
- Keep your kids sugar intake to a minimum, and set a deadline to stop all sweets, cakes and fizzy drinks by late afternoon. Tell well-meaning relatives and friends that may be staying over your rule so they don’t unintentionally scupper your plans.
- Close the curtains, keep the door shut, and lower the ambient noise coming from outside. If you and the rest of the family are quiet and more relaxed, that’s a sign to the kids that they should be going to sleep ready for the excitement of tomorrow.