Even as an adult, I still get excited on Christmas Eve. The sparkly lights, the music, the thought of presents coming in the morning…there is a lot going on and all these things can be quite stimulating. So it's completely understandable that little ones might find it hard to settle on Christmas Eve.
As much as we don’t want to dampen their excitement, we also want to make sure our little ones are able to make the very most of the big day and that means getting a good night’s sleep the night before.
So, what can we do as parents/caregivers to help our little ones enjoy the magic of Christmas and have a good night's sleep?
Lots of fresh air
Getting out and about on Christmas Eve is a great way to help your kiddos sleep. We're based on the South Coast, so a walk on the beach would be perfect - some nice sea air will really help them sleep. Any outside activity will allow your little ones to get lots of fresh air in and expel some energy.
So why not bundle your little ones up and go for a family walk on the 24th?
Top tip – try not to exhaust them too much as we don’t want anyone taking a quick nap in the car on the way home (if this isn’t their usual schedule)
A Christmas Themed bedtime story
A great way to help your littles wind down before bed but still keep the Christmas magic alive is with a bedtime story. We love the old classics, so we’ll be reading ‘Kipper’s Christmas Eve’ by Mick Inkpen and ‘Jolly Snow’ by Jane Hissey.
Top tip - Try to avoid anything that sings or flashes though, we don't want to overcite just before bedtime
Sticking to your normal bedtime routine
Kids love routine and sticking to your usual bedtime routine can be a great way to help your littles settle for bed.
Because their routine is familiar, it will help to reduce any feelings of being overwhelmed. If you want to make it a little bit special, why not add some new Christmas PJs to the routine? I would advise that you prep your little one ahead of bedtime that they will be getting their new PJs (maybe take them shopping and let them pick the ones they want?), maybe lay them out on the bed ahead of their bath or before their relaxing bedtime story.
Top tip – if you’re going to add any change into your routine, make sure you pre-warn your children so they know what’s coming e.g. ‘let’s put the milk out for Santa and then we will go for a bath’. Or for slightly older kids, ‘we are going to do XXX now and then bedtime is in 30 minutes’. This is a great way to reduce anxiety.
But most of all, have a wonderful time. Christmas can be a pretty stressful time of the year for us adults. There are lots of things to organise and prep, but remember your kids are going to love whatever you have planned. Even if your day doesn't go 'to plan', the only person that will know is you.