9 Tricks to Get Your Kids to Bed on Christmas Eve
With the excitement of the holiday season, it can often be difficult to get kids to settle down at night. This is especially difficult on Christmas Eve with the promise of gifts, candy and fun waiting for them tomorrow. Yet once the excitement of Christmas morning wears off, most parents are left dealing with cranky kids who didn’t get enough sleep.
Avoid any unwanted meltdowns this year by ensuring your kids get the sleep they need—which is between eight to ten hours. Here are 10 of our suggestions to get the kids to bed on time this Christmas Eve!
#1 Limit screen time
Although it may be tempting to curl up as a family to watch the latest Hallmark Christmas movie, try to avoid it. The blue light that’s emitted from electronic screens can disrupt circadian rhythms and make your kids feel more awake. It’s best to enjoy the movie before dinner. Try playing a board game as a family instead to have nighttime fun without screens.
#2 Avoid sweets and hot cocoa at night
While they may be a staple of the season, try to keep chocolate and sugary treats out of your kids’ hands close to bedtime. Both sweets contain stimulants that will prevent their minds and bodies from shutting down on time. To keep their sleep schedules on track, allow them to enjoy sweets and treats early in the day.
#3 Eat sleep-inducing foods
Even without a sugary diet, your kids might have to lean on some healthy snacks for a little added boost of sleepiness. Bananas, cherries and almonds all contain nutrients that support sleep. The magnesium in bananas helps muscles relax enough for sleep, while almonds and cherries both contain the sleep hormone, melatonin. A simple snack of one of these foods, or other healthy kid-favorites, before bed can help your kids fall asleep on time and avoid midnight hunger pangs.
#4 Give them cozy bedding
Comfort is key when it comes to getting kids to settle down for sleep. If they feel a nagging discomfort, they could end up tossing and turning all night. Try to give them cozy sleep essentials—a snug mattress and warm flannel sheets give them bedding to cuddle into, and a comfort toy can help ease their minds and fears. The combination, along with a nightlight if necessary, can help them drift off quickly and stay asleep.
#5 Read a bedtime story
Reading The Night Before Christmas with the kids is a holiday tradition for many families. It can also help your children relax and get sleepy in bed. The calming activity can make them feel secure and de-stressed, setting them up for a good night’s sleep. If your kids are too old for story time, give them a few books as an early gift so they can read on their own. It can not only help them fall asleep faster, but also set them up for a lifetime of reading!
#6 Stick to the typical bedtime routine
During Christmas break, most kids are off their normal routine—staying up late and sleeping in. It’s important, however, to maintain some semblance of routine so their sleep doesn’t suffer while their bodies readjust. Try to keep their bedtime and wake-up times fairly consistent and make sure they’re getting in around nine hours of sleep. This will make it easier for them to fall asleep regularly and avoid a late night on Christmas Eve.
#7 Take a melatonin supplement
If your child has persistent sleep issues, it may be helpful to give them a natural sleep aid. Melatonin supplements assist the sleep cycle by manually regulating circadian rhythms. This should not only make it easier for them to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, but also get them back on track for school nights. Consider chewable melatonin tablets to make it easier for kids’ stomachs to break it down.
#8 Play outside
Whether it’s sunny or snowy, outdoor exercise can improve sleep quality by making the body crave restorative sleep. Send the kids out to play in the snow or start a game of tag while you finish up last minute gift prep. They’ll tucker each other out and feel sleepy once their head hits the pillow.
#9 Use a soothing sound machine
The perfect sleeping environment is dark, cool and, most importantly, quiet. Whether it’s city noises, snoring siblings, or a stumbling Santa Claus that disrupt your kids’ sleep, a sound machine can cover up nearly any distraction. Try one that’s portable if you’re traveling for the holidays.
Keeping all these tips in mind, there is no perfect solution to getting kids in bed on time. Every child’s sleep needs and disturbances are unique to them and are likely to constantly evolve as they grow. Just be sure to listen to your child, cater these tips to best suit their needs, and help them get the sleep their health requires.
Do you have any tried-and-true tricks to help get your kids settled in bed? Let us know in the comments below!