It can be hard to get your kids to fall asleep on a normal night, but Christmas Eve? Forget about it. Anticipation over a visit from Santa Claus, excitement about the soon-to-be-opened presents, lots of sweet treats, and a complete shift from their normal schedule can make even the easiest kid impossible to put to bed. On top of that, you’re probably feeling a lot less rested than normal. But all’s not lost. Here are five simple things to do so that everyone in the family can go to bed early and wake up feeling refreshed on Christmas morning.
- Do something active on Christmas Eve. The best way to get your kids to go to sleep is to tire them out. Start a new tradition where you go on an outdoor adventure on December 24th. You could go on a family walk through the woods looking for reindeer, go to a favorite sledding hill, go ice skating, or build a snowman.
- Follow their normal bedtime routine. Does your kid get ready for bed by taking a bath and listening to you read a story? Do the same calming routine tonight and it will help prepare your little one for sleep.
- Go to bed early yourself! Practice what you preach. It can be tough to get your kids to sleep if you're staying up late yourself. (If you're rocking out to holiday tunes and watching Love Actually, your kids may think that they're missing out on fun and crawl out of bed.) So get the whole family on the same page by having a firm “lights out” rule for the house.
- Have the perfect nighttime snack. You might be putting out a plate of cookies for Santa, but don’t devour too many yourself. The sugar can interrupt your sleep throughout the night. A better idea: a glass of warm milk with some cinnamon, whole-wheat toast with some almond butter on top, or some apple slices and cheese.
Explain that Santa won’t come until they are asleep. When all else fails, pull out the big guns: No sleep, no Santa.