It’s the most magical time of year, especially for children.
They have just finished school, and they are excited for the big day.
Most families enjoy this time of laughter and joy. Kids stay up a bit later than normal to take part in the festive fun.
As special as the lead up to Christmas and Christmas Eve is, watching the little ones get excited for Santa’s arrival, most parents have a tricky time getting their adrenaline-filled children to the land of nod at bedtime.
One parenting expert shared his tips with The Sun about how to ensure a peaceful and stress-free Christmas bedtime.
Sophie Pickles of Munchkin stated that the six foolproof methods she has developed will give mums and dads ample time to enjoy a glass of wine and wrap up.
1. Keep to your routine
Sophie said it’s tempting for Christmas Eve to be the one time where you allow your children to stay up later and enjoy ‘the night before’.
In fact, it’s more important than ever to stick to your usual routine if you want a quiet(ish) night and a calm Christmas Day, she said.
Sophie advised: “Stick to your usual pre-bedtime routine, whether it’s a story or a warm bubble bath, before popping on their night light.
“The same applies to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day nap times – keep them at their normal times for happier children and adults.
“Keeping young children or toddlers awake can lead to overtiredness, which can make it more difficult for everyone involved to fall asleep at night.”
2. Do not threaten a no-show
Threatening that the big man won’t come might seem like a good idea at the time but it can often create chaos and unnecessary upset, the parenting expert said.
Sophie said that ultimately, it’s not something that you can really follow through on – or would want to – if your child doesn’t do as you ask.
“If your child is having a difficult day, keep in mind that this is a challenging time for them. They may feel displaced or uneasy beneath all the hyperactive excitement.
“Try to stay calm and confident, and acknowledge your child’s feelings instead.”
She said that the following phrases could be used to aid you.
- “It’s so exciting that Santa is coming tomorrow”.
- “I understand. It’s ok to be excited but it’s not ok to (throw toys, push your brother etc).”
- “Let’s go outside to run around for a while instead.”
3. Stockings should be kept out of your bedroom
We all know how vital a sound night of sleep is, especially for Christmas Day.
Keeping stockings out of the bedroom will ensure that children are left to a peaceful slumber and won’t be disturbed by rustling as you try to creep in quietly, Sophie said.
“What’s more, the thought of a stranger coming into their bedroom in the middle of the night might actually be a little frightening for younger children.
“You could explain to your child that stockings are going to be filled downstairs and that any presents will be left on the landing or in the living room.
“Knowing that Father Christmas won’t be coming into their personal environment will allow them to feel safe and secure – all conducive to a good night’s sleep,” she added.
4. Personalize your Christmas Eve box
Many parents are giving their children Christmas Eve boxes as a way to kick off the celebrations.
Sophie suggested that you carefully consider what the contents of these boxes are to create a relaxing and peaceful Christmas Eve afternoon.
“If you are looking to include sweet treats and chocolate in your Christmas Eve boxes, it is a good idea to open them together in the morning rather than waiting until bedtime.
She added that to create the perfect calming environment, you should think of cozy pyjamas, festive slippers, and a story about Christmas that you can share with your family by the glow of the Christmas tree.
5. Fresh air is available
Sophie said that wrapping up warm and getting the children outside for a wintery walk and some fresh air should be high on any parent’s list for Christmas Eve.
She said that “Exploring the natural world provides endless opportunities to learn and can also help children to get some sleep at night.”
It’s worth thinking about your family activities and when to do them, the guru said.
Avoid high-octane escapades earlier in the morning and settle down into a peaceful atmosphere once afternoon hits.
Sophie said, “Christmas movies are often on our agenda too, so plan them in for the afternoon, and save the evening to enjoy relaxing activities such as reading Christmas books, solving puzzles, or mindful coloring.”