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Tips for Getting Excited Kids to Fall Asleep on Christmas Eve

We’ve all been there, done that: unsuccessfully trying (read: begging, cajoling, reasoning, bribing, and anything else we can think of) to get our excited kids to bed on Christmas Eve. Here are a few tips to get our excited little sleepy heads to fall asleep so Santa can slip in undetected.

1. Try to keep the kids’ bedtime as close to usual as possible.
2. Give the kids a few reminders about when bedtime is (i.e., “Bedtime is in one hour and fifteen minutes”).
3. Set the thermostat for about 66-68*F, which is a good temperature range for sleeping.
4. Try aromatherapy. Some scents (like lavender) may promote drowsiness.
5. At least an hour before bedtime, turn off the TV and the video games, put away all the sugary Christmas treats, offer your kids a small glass of warm milk, turn on quiet and slow tempo music, dim the lights, give your kids warm and relaxing baths, and talk mostly about things that don’t stir their excitement. On that latter point, the kids will want to talk mostly about getting Christmas presents or catching Santa delivering them, both of which keep them excited; you can respond by saying things like, “Christmas presents are nice. Its fine that you are happy about Christmas presents. Even more important than what you receive, though, is what you give . . . and not just things you buy, either. Can you tell me what you plan to give to others this season . . . not things you buy, but gifts of service . . . things you do for people? What gift of service would you like to give to Mrs. Cady next door? And how about her kitty? What gift of service would you like to give to your brother? How about Grampa John?”
6. Tuck your kids into bed with warm and comfy jammies and their favorite blankets.
7. Read a lulling story to your kids at bedtime.
8. Cuddle up with your kids in their beds (just until they fall asleep) and rub their little backs to usher them to dreamland.
9. If, after you’ve left their rooms assuming they were asleep, one of your little angels awakens and calls for you, do not immediately respond. Give him or her a chance to return to slumber on his/her own. If s/he comes looking for you, gently and quietly take him/her back to his/her room and repeat tip #7.

May these tips work well for you and your little bundles of love. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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