Bedtime routines for your child on Christmas Eve
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.' Yeah right!
It's fair to say that kids often struggle to get to sleep on December 24th (kids of all ages that is). But to avoid overtired children turning into grinches on Christmas Day afternoon, here are a few tips for a Christmas Eve routine that will help them to drift off so you can all have a silent night.
Track Santa's Journey
At 1pm on Christmas Eve in the UK, Christmas morning will just be dawning in Australia (Sydney is around 11 hours ahead). You can track Santa's journey as he travels across the globe and use the opportunity to talk to your child about all of the other children Father Christmas will be delivering presents to.
Get Some Fresh Air
Before the evening activities begin, it's a great idea to take your little ones out for a festive walk. Kick through leaves, splash in puddles and use up some energy before bedtime rolls around. You could take part in some festive outdoor activities such as looking out for reindeer tracks, ticking off a Christmassy scavenger hunt (look out for robins, holly, mistletoe, pine cones, and twigs that would make excellent snowman's arms), or singing a few Christmas carols.
Wind Down With a Warm Drink
A warm, milky drink is an excellent way to get kids relaxed and ready for bed. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid which has been shown to promote relaxation and sleep, and melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy. Try mixing in some cinnamon to warm milk for a festively flavoured drink, or opt for a hot chocolate for a Christmas treat.
Don't forget to leave out a drink and a mince pie for Santa, too (and a carrot for Rudolph of course!).
Make a Christmas Eve Box
Christmas Eve boxes are a recent tradition that was inspired by the European custom of exchanging presents on December 24th. They can contain anything you want really but can be cleverly tailored to make your little one ready for bedtime. You could add a special hot chocolate for kids to have before they go to sleep, as well as a pair of new Xmas PJs.
Prepare for the Big Day
If your kids are old enough, it's great to get them involved in preparations for Christmas Day. Vegetables can be peeled, rooms can be tidied, and toys put away. Not only can this be actually quite fun to do together (especially if you get some Christmas tunes going in the background), but it's a super way to create a fresh Christmas tradition you can share as a family. It also teaches kids a valuable lesson about sharing the chores and working as a team. Hopefully, it will use up plenty of energy, too.
Gather Round the Fire
There's significant evidence to show that orange light helps us to fall asleep, as opposed to blue light, which keeps us awake. Try adding some LED candles to your child's bedroom for a Yuletide feel that won't disrupt their sleep.
Stick to Your Usual Bedtime Routine
To stop kids from getting too tired on the big day, it's important to try and maintain their usual bedtime routine as far as possible (easier said than done we know). Pop them into their pyjamas and curl up with a book to help them settle down. To infuse some Christmas magic into the normal routine, you could add some festively scented bubbles to their bath, or play some gentle Christmas songs in the background. You can also try switching your usual bedtime book for a Christmas story. If it's appropriate for your child's reading level, you could ask them to read to you so that Santa can hear it, too, as he travels about on his sleigh.
However, if you think you might hear the pitter patter of tiny feet early in the morning, you could consider putting a small stocking at the bottom of your child's bed with the proviso that they can only open these gifts before they go downstairs. Try to include a book or a small game which kids can read or play with by themselves for a little while.
We hope these tips can provide you with a peaceful and festive Christmas Eve night, ready for a Christmas Day full of fun and good times.