How to encourage your child to have a good night’s sleep this Christmas

Posted by iChild, December 23, 2020 2:52 PM

By Lucy Shrimpton, from The Sleep Nanny®

As Christmas Eve approaches, your children are going to be very excited, meaning that getting them into their usual sleep routine will be harder than ever!

That’s why we’ve called on the advice of Lucy Shrimpton, from The Sleep Nanny® to ask for her top pieces of advice for encouraging little ones to rest well before the big day.

Christmas sleep

Stick to your routine steps wherever you are - So, if you’re staying over at your family’s house in the allocated time that Boris has allowed us to, try to stick to your sleep routine. Nap during the day at the time they are used to and make sure they go to bed at the same time each night. Have the same sleep cues you have when you’re at home so that they know that bedtime’s coming.

All the elements! - Fresh air, good hydration and healthy nutrition are key additions to your routine to help your little one to sleep well. Rainy days stuck indoors with the heating on can lead to lethargy and children rarely ask for a drink until they're getting dehydrated so it's important that you're remembering to give them water. Taking some time to step outside and getting those vegetables in them.

Mum and babies

Avoid over-tiredness - While it can be tempting to want to keep children up later and later each night over Christmas, this will only cause over-tiredness. When a child is over-tired this means they won’t be able to sleep properly in the night or they might wake up earlier than normal – just what you don’t want if you’ve got a busy day of cooking and entertaining (no matter in which Tier you find yourself)!

Limit sugary foods. -Your cupboard may well be full of lovely Christmas treats and your tree hanging with delicious chocolate and candy canes – all temptations for our little ones. And for some reason we allow children way more than we allow ourselves so just be careful of this, as if they’re having treats close to bedtime, that sugar can create an adrenaline rush just as they’re meant to be calming down for bed. Be particularly mindful of this for children aged four and up who have the most successful powers of persuasion!

Early to bed on Christmas Eve - A great plan for Christmas Eve is to make sure your little one gets plenty of good nutrition, some fresh air and exercise finishing off with an early night. No, early to bed does not mean early to rise. In fact, often quite the opposite! Your well rested child will have a better night's sleep and be more likely to wake after their ideal 10-12 hours through the night. An overtired little one is more likely to start the day at 5a.m!

Sleeping toddler boy

Avoid too much screen time close to bed - Christmas movies are one of the best things about Christmas but do your best to give children around an hour of no-screen time before they go to sleep, and at least half an hour before getting ready for bed. Try reading a Christmas story to them in bed instead.

Getting back on track - If excitement does get the better of your little one despite your best efforts to keep them rested, and you find they wake up too early on any morning, adding in some extra rest or quiet time in the afternoon can really help and a few early nights to top up their sleep tanks.

Tired daddy and baby

Stick to YOUR rules. If your family has a set time when you can start the day, stick to it. Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean they can start waking up at 5am and if you allow them to for a few days, this will only cause confusion and potential disobedience, particularly in younger children who don’t understand your logic. If you don’t stick to your rules, your child will not take them seriously for the rest of the time so, as hard as it might be, try to stick to your rules and routine – you’ll thank me when New Year is here!

Mother & Baby

The Sleep Nanny® has just launched a brand new online sleep programme called Dream Maker, aimed at new parents struggling to help their children sleep through the night -

The program doesn’t take a one size fits all approach; using knowledge garnered from parents, the Dream Maker will give families a bespoke course to suit them and their child’s needs. Neatly packaged in an online portal, it is full of expert guidance and support, sleep diagnostics and sleep training. It focuses on overcoming challenges, night weaning, nap training, and advice on staying on-track for the long-term. And, alongside the portal, clients are supported via an online private group and weekly Q&As, as well as one-to-ones for certain packages.



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