With all the excitement of Christmas morning, it can be difficult to get kids to settle down and sleep on Christmas Eve. But the Christmas afternoon meltdowns can be avoided with a few simple tips for helping your kids get a good night’s sleep.
1. Stay active during the day.
Scheduling activities throughout the day can help tire out your kids and make them more ready for bed when the time comes. Even if you’re busy with last minute Christmas preparations, encourage your children to play outside or play active games indoors. Have a neighbor or family member take the children on a walk if you are too busy. If there is snow on the ground, build snowmen or have a snowball fight! There is always a way to get some exercise, even if it doesn’t feel like exercise.
2. Give a warm bath or shower before bed.
A relaxing bath or shower right before bedtime can help calm everyone down and get the bedtime routine rolling so children know that it’s time to settle down. Keep your bedtime routine normal, whatever that may be, so that it seems like a normal day, even though it’s not. This will help them get to bed.
3. Send them to bed a little early.
It may take a little longer than usual for your children to get to sleep. Giving them a little extra time to do so may help. Give them a couple books or other low-stimuli toys to help them relax as they try to drift off. Keep the lights low and the sounds to a minimum to help them feel comfortable and sleepy.
4. If your children get out of bed after bedtime, bring them back to bed.
If your child comes to you during the night, take them back to their bed. Give them some suggestions of things to think about to keep their minds off of Christmas. If they are really having trouble sleeping, try cuddling with them for a few minutes. Seeing you relaxed and ready to sleep will help them do the same. Don’t let children sleep together unless they normally do. Children sleeping together will be more likely to talk and keep each other awake. Don’t add undue stress by telling them that Santa can’t come unless they’re sleeping. Just encourage them to get some rest so they can enjoy the next day.
5. Set a time for opening presents.
To keep your kids in bed a little longer and to avoid an afternoon crash, set a specific time for opening presents. This will keep your kids from waking you up at 4:30 a.m. Set an alarm in their room so they know when they can come to wake you up. Let them know the exact time you will be opening presents so they can try to fall back asleep if they wake up before it’s time.
If the excitement of Christmas is still too much for your children to get a good night’s sleep, don’t panic. Schedule downtime for rest on Christmas day so your children can enjoy their gifts before taking an afternoon nap. Chances are, you might need a nap too.