Christmas is here and it can be such a magical time filled with joy and festivities. As parents, ensuring your little ones get a good night’s sleep during this exciting Christmas period is crucial for their overall well-being and creating those magical memories. In this guide, we’ll explore tips and strategies to help your babies and children enjoy peaceful nights of sleep throughout the Christmas season and hopefully keep a smile on those excited little faces.
- Stick to your usual routine
Maintaining a consistent bedtime and naptime routine (where possible) is essential for babies and children whether you are at home or away. Babies and children thrive on having routine, especially at bedtime and it will help to maintain a routine especially when you are away from home and have days filled with excitement. Implementing a bedtime routine can go a long way to making sure a child is as relaxed as possible in the lead up to sleep. Routine also helps a child to feel secure and safe especially of they are in an environment they are not familiar with.
- Sleep Hygiene
Ensure your child’s sleep space is comfortable and conducive to rest. I always recommend as close to 10/10 for darkness as possible, so if you are travelling make sure to take that black out blind with you for naps. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature (between 16-20 degrees) and consider using constant white noise to limit any noise if there are festivities afoot. It is also a good idea to take some bedding and pyjamas that smell like home to create familiarity.
Keep an eye on your child’s sugar intake, especially in the evening. Just a little note on sugar as I do not want to come across like the sugar police but it is worth remembering that sugar plays a big role in how children settle for sleep especially in the evening. A sugar crash before bed or being on a sugar high will not help with easing into sleep.
Try not to offer sweet treats after their evening meal and instead offer a small amount in the daytime. For more information on nutrition I collaborate with Alice Mayor who has some amazing low sugar snacks on her website.
- Manage Excitement
This may seem like a silly thing to say around Christmas but the anticipation of Christmas can be overwhelming for children. If emotions start to run high you can always take them away from the hustle and bustle and have some quiet time with them and talk about a present they got or something yummy they ate, just until they calm.
You can also help to calm them in the evening by incorporating calming activities into the evening routine. Before going upstairs to start the bedtime routine try having some down time by turning off the television and dimming the lights and playing some hand-eye co-ordination games to help calm them before bedtime.
- Relaxation Techniques for Older Children
For children 3 years and over, incorporating some simple meditative techniques just before their bedtime story can help take them away from the craziness of the day and settle them into a sleepy state. You can do some deep breathing with them using their hand or yours. Hold your hand out, fingers splayed and they trace their little finger up one side of your finger whilst breathing in deeply, and then trace their finger down the other side of that finger whilst breathing out, repeat on all fingers. Deep breathing helps them to regulate their nervous system.
- Outdoor Time
Encourage outdoor activities during the day to ensure your child gets enough natural light. Exposure to sunlight helps regulate the body’s internal clock, making it easier for children to fall asleep at the appropriate time.
With a little extra care and attention to routines, environments, and some mindful habits, you can try your best to encourage restful sleep over the Christmas season. By incorporating these tips into your preparations, you’ll not only create magical memories but also provide your little ones with the gift of quality rest.
Sweet dreams and happy Christmas!
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