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How to get the kids to sleep on Christmas Eve

Getting the kids to bed nicely on Christmas Eve is likely to be on the top of many families' festive to-do lists.

Last minute preparations for the big day should be stress free so long as the kids settle down on time.

We've asked the experts how best to get the kids to sleep on Christmas Eve
We've asked the experts how best to get the kids to sleep on Christmas Eve

But putting excitable children to bed on Christmas Eve can be a long-drawn out process as thoughts of Santa, reindeer and presents keep small minds wide awake.

Here are our five top tips for getting the kids to sleep on December 24:

1 Set an early alarm and keep active

GP Dr Preethi Daniel says a good Christmas Eve routine starts with getting children up early in the morning. Avoid letting them lay in even if the peace and quiet is tempting.

She explained: "There is research to suggest every inactive hour adds three minutes extra to get them to the land of Nod - that’s an extra three minutes that you could be spending wrapping those last minute presents!"

Advisory organisation The Sleep Council, echoes her thoughts confirming that preparation for the best Christmas Eve bedtime routine begins much earlier in the day. And that if families can find the time, a hefty dose of fresh air, a walk, a cycle or a play in the park will pay dividends later.

It would be tempting to enjoy a short lay-in but it's best to set an alarm and get everyone up on Christmas Eve
It would be tempting to enjoy a short lay-in but it's best to set an alarm and get everyone up on Christmas Eve

2 Watch their sugar intake

We all know the effect that a sudden injection of sugar can have on youngsters. If you're aiming for a quiet and calm evening routine the Sleep Council suggests not letting them over indulge in sweet treats and sugary snacks and definitely not too close to bedtime - even if it is Christmas Eve!

3 Limit screen time and gaming devices

In more recent years keeping an eye on Santa tracker apps have become a popular activity. But once you've taken one last look at the sleigh's location in the world banish any form of electronic gaming ahead of bedtime. Instead try settling down with books or a Christmas movie ahead of bedtime. Don't forget the special Cbeebies Christmas Bedtime Stories being read too!

Try and keep the atmosphere indoors calm and quiet where possible before bed
Try and keep the atmosphere indoors calm and quiet where possible before bed

4 Enjoy a warm drink

When the kids are leaving a festive drink out for Santa, encourage them to have one themselves. The Sleep Council suggests making a 'Snowman Smoothie' which can include bananas, oats, milk and plain yoghurt - said to be both healthy and sleep inducing!

Try and encourage the kids to have a warm drink of their own before bedtime
Try and encourage the kids to have a warm drink of their own before bedtime

5 Stick to a your normal routine and make plans clear

It can be hard when the house is so excited but Dr Daniel suggests aiming for a normal routine where possible. She said: "It can be so hard when everyone is unbelievably excited but the best way to get your child to sleep is not to waiver from your usual routine. It is important to inform them of the plan for the day. Consistency is key."

GP Dr Preethi Daniel from London Doctors Clinic
GP Dr Preethi Daniel from London Doctors Clinic

The Sleep Council recommends a calm bath close to bedtime to help children wind down, and parents can use this time to talk to their children about what the night will bring and what they should do if they find themselves awake in the night.

And if you're really concerned about how long it might take for them to fall asleep you can always consider introducing a marginally earlier bedtime or failing that at least moving them to their bedrooms a little earlier whilst keeping the lighting low and noise to a minimum.

Lastly - remind them that Santa can’t come and give them their presents unless they’re fast asleep!

For news and events for families in Kent over the Christmas and New Year period visit www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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