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How do I get my little one to sleep over the festive period?!

With the excitement and anticipation of Santa, celebrating with friends, extra chocolate, and changes in routine, Christmas can be the most exciting and exhausting time of the year for little ones!  

Some of my top tips to follow to help with this on are: 

  • Tire them out – No lie ins (especially on Christmas Eve morning) get up and out and plan activities where possible. Christmas movies can wait until later in the day, we need to burn off that excess energy first and increase their exposure to daylight. Activities such as helping you to deliver those last few Christmas cards, walking around looking at Christmas lights, a nature walk around the country park or baking mince pies and cookies. Keeping them stimulated will help at the end of the day when it is time to wind down. Be sure to watch out for overtiredness as this can raise their cortisol levels and make sleep difficult and cause early wakings.  

  • Limit sweets – Yes this is the time to indulge, however excess sugar can have a negative impact on sleep. Have a cut off time to avoid the bedtime sugar rush and a glass of warm milk before bed can help promote sleep. 

  • Routine – keep your routine as much as possible especially around naps, if your little one still has daytime naps, stick to these even if they are napping on the go. Keep their sleep cues the same and if you are staying with family or friends keep their sleep environment similar to home e.g. white noise, bedsheets that smell like home. 

  • Bedtime – put them to bed earlier – this may sound crazy however this extra half an hour will allow them extra time to wind down, you can bring dinner and bath time forward to allow for this. On Christmas Eve, rather than being strict and telling them they must go to sleep, make it more of a game and give them options along the way. Reading a festive book and explaining that the whole family are having an early night can help too. Build the excitement of Santa coming once everyone is asleep rather than the excitement of staying awake. For older children you could try some light meditation exercises to help them drift off. 

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