You may remember your own childhood difficulty in getting to sleep on Christmas Eve, and there’s no reason to think it’s any easier for children now. So what can you do to make sure that their sleep doesn’t become a source of Christmas Eve stress for you?
There are two key ideas – helping them to be tired naturally at their Christmas Eve bedtime, and making sure that as little as possible disturbs their sleep routine.
So on Christmas Eve get the children up a little bit earlier than normal. Encourage them to go outside to play, or to keep as active as possible. This is about helping them to be more ready for sleep in the evening, so watch their consumption of sugary foods and drinks throughout the day as well.
Get them to take a bath before their bedtime, as the drop in body temperature afterwards will promote sleepiness. This will also be helped by a drink of warm milk, and by keeping their bedtime routine as close to normal as possible. Accept that fact that they may stay awake for a little while, and get them to go to bed half an hour earlier so that they won’t miss out on as much sleep.
Finally, to encourage them to sleep don’t let them get over-excited – don’t let them use a tablet or phone for at least two hours before their bedtime, and don’t forget to give them a time that you will open presents on Christmas day. That way they will be more likely to sleep through, and less likely to keep waking you to ask if Father Christmas has been yet.