How to Get Your Kids to Sleep on Christmas Eve

If you're a kid, it can be quite hard getting to sleep on Christmas Eve. Remember all the years you stayed up, unable to sleep, antsy for the first sign of Santa? Helping your kids get to sleep on Christmas Eve can make Christmas Day much more enjoyable for everyone.


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    Schedule active time for the day. Even if you're busy finalizing last-minute Christmas decorations or otherwise occupied, take the time out of your day to encourage your kids to exercise outdoors. Exercising will cause them to be sleepy and more subdued later on at night.
    • If you can't find the time to supervise them yourself, have a family member take up the responsibility, or even a friend. As long as the little ones get some exercise, you're doing good.
    • Go for a hike or walk outside. Pick a nice, scenic stretch of wilderness (if you can) to bring the kids, along with some play-toys and warm clothing. Spend an hour or two with the kids while they exert themselves.
    • Model snow-figures outside, if possible. In colder climes, snow-figures are the perfect excuse to be outside and get a little exercise. Make all kinds of different figures, from simple snowmen and snow-women to more elaborate figures, such as Star Wars characters, for example.
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    Don't overdo the stimuli. Christmas music, movies, books, and games all going on at once are bound to hype everybody up. You don't have to avoid these things altogether, but moderation is key.
    • Focus on doing one thing at a time. Don't have the music blaring if the kids are playing a game. Don't have the TV going if the kids are singing along to music.
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    Have them take a warm shower or bath before it's bedtime. This will help them relax and get clean to boot.
    • Tell them you want them to be clean for Santa, especially since they exercised and got sweaty during the day.
    • Stick with your consistent bath-time routine. Whatever helps convince your children's brains that this is a normal day, even when they know it's not, will help them get to bed.
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    Give your kids warm milk before they go to bed. This will help make make them sleepier, especially if combined with a snack.
    • Combine milk with some carbohydrates to produce the ideal bedtime snack.[1] Milk contains tryptophan (also rich in Turkey, which is what is reputed to make Thanksgiving so yawn-inducing), and the carbs help produce insulin, which eventually encourages the brain to produce serotonin, or the "calming hormone."
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    Keep them occupied before they go to bed. Read them a story or do some other quiet activity. It doesn't have to be Christmas-related.
    • Try introducing the kids to books. Books have the benefit of lasting as long as necessary, taking very little effort, and coming in a wide range of engaging stories with great characters.
    • Give your kids a massage or back-rub if they've been good. As a precondition, make them be completely ready for bed, so that when you lull their little bodies into a state of near-complete relaxation, you won't have to wake them to brush their teeth or wash their face.
    • Close the curtains, keep the door shut, and lower the ambient noise coming from outside. If you and the rest of the family is quiet or subdued, that's a sign to the kids that they should be going to sleep.
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    Send them to bed a little early. Most kids are going to stay up for a while even if they're really relaxed. That's fine. It's Christmas and they're entitled to. Eventually, they will fall asleep.
    • Take this example: John stays up for around an hour before he finally falls asleep on Christmas Eve. If he normally goes to bed at eight-thirty, put him to bed at 8. This way, he'll stay up until nine—only half an hour after he normally goes to bed.
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    If your children get out of bed after bedtime, bring them back to their bed. Give them suggestions of something to think about. Try not to make it Christmas-related. You can suggest counting sheep, trying to relax every muscle in their body, or being Superman. Focusing on these can help keep their minds off of Christmas.
    • If your kids are really having trouble sleeping, you can try lying/cuddling with them for a while. Seeing you relaxed and ready to sleep will help put your children in the right mindset.
    • Don't let the children sleep together unless they normally do. Children who sleep in the same room will be more eager to talk with one another, providing stimulus that could keep them awake.
    • Remind them that Santa can't come unless they're asleep.
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    Schedule a time to open presents. This will keep your kids from springing out of bed at 4 AM. 6:30 AM to 8 AM is a good time frame.
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    Don't open presents until the designated time. Give your kids positive reinforcement if they stayed in bed for a while. This will better the chances of the same thing happening next year.


  • Promise them that you'll wake them up very early on Christmas Day. Go to bed with them and talk softly discussing plans for next day. Tell them if they want to enjoy, they need to sleep early!
  • Don't yell and talk excitedly about Christmas. This will only raise their excitement and lower their chances of going to sleep. Instead, try to talk softly and say that they have to go to sleep if they want to enjoy Christmas or stay up late the next night.
  • Keep them occupied during the day.
  • Wake them up early on Christmas Eve. This will make them even more tired.
  • You might want to let them open one gift each on the night of Christmas Eve. This will keep them occupied for a while.
  • Don't let them consume too much sugar. One Christmas cookie is fine, but not the whole batch.
  • Do some fun activities with them that might actually help them fall asleep.
  • Do NOT Feed them sweets, candy, soda, lemonade, or any kind of snack that can give a kid energy.
  • The faster you fall asleep the faster Santa will come.
  • Have them to drink warm milk.
  • Tell them if they don't go to bed, than Santa won't come!
  • Track santa. This might get them a bit excited, but they will be satisfied that they know where santa is.


  • Don't let them drink too much liquid before bed. You don't want them to keep waking up to go to the bathroom.
  • Don't let them stay up the night before Christmas Eve because then they will stay up all night on Christmas Eve and won't want to go to bed for Christmas day.
  • Don't let them use electronic devices up to an hour before bedtime.
  • Don't keep them keyed up. Don't tell them they're going to get loads of presents, or let them run around the house too much. You can go through the normal traditions, but you don't want to get them hyped up.
  • Don't let them eat sweets or drink soda past two or three in the afternoon. Lack of sugar will stop them from being excessively excited.

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Categories: Christmas for Kids | Raising Children