How to ensure Santa's little helpers get a good nights sleep

22nd, December 2016

With only a few more sleeps until Christmas, Dr Deirdre Peake, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at 3fivetwo Group, advises on how to ensure your little angels have a silent night …

On average, a schoolchild sleeps 8 hours a night – but the recommendation is for even more rest. Toddlers need 12-14 hours, pre-schoolers 11-13 hours and school age children 8-10 hours.  Of course with the excitement of Santa coming it can be even more difficult getting kids to sleep but these little tips can help them nod off before the big morning.


1. Bedtime Schedule


Create a bedtime routine that works for you and your child, then stick to it. Of course this can be harder in the run up to Christmas day but by practicing earlier starts and giving time to leave cookies and milk out for Santa it can make a change in routine easier. Make sure the times you select are practical and realistic, consistency is key!


2. Bedtime Routine


A regular bedtime routine, about 1/2-hour long leading up to bedtime itself, is how you can best help your child to prepare for a good night's sleep. Taking a warm bath, reading a story together or listening to tranquil music helps.  Avoid late night mince pies and singing upbeat festive songs as this will make it harder to get back into a relaxed resting mode.


3. Environmental Conditions


Set a bedroom temperature that's comfortable and will remain consistent throughout the night, erring on the cooler side. Make the room sufficiently dark, but a small nightlight is okay. Dress your child in comfortable pyjamas/nighties and encourage them to sleep alone and fall asleep alone.


4. Daytime Behaviours and Habits


Of course on Christmas morning everyone is going to be up a little earlier than usual to open what is left under the tree but you can make sure this doesn’t make them tired for the rest of the day with a few pre-25th tricks. Wake up your kids with daylight every morning by opening the curtains, this will get them used to waking naturally with the daylight and leave healthy habits for life. Avoid using the bedroom as a punishment area as it should be a peaceful place and this will help them wake happy even if it is a little earlier than usual.


5. If my child wakes up?


Reindeer can make quite a noise on the roof and if this wakes them do not go to their room unless absolutely necessary as they need to learn to ‘self soothe’.  If upset, soothe your child and leave again before he or she is asleep. If your child is never drowsy at the planned bedtime, delay bedtime by 30 minute increments until they appear drowsy.


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