Parenting expert reveals how to get kids to sleep on Christmas Eve

Do YOUR kids struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve? Expert reveals tips to help them nod off – including an EARLIER bedtime and drinking sugar-free cherry juice

  • Parenting expert at Play Like Mum revealed tips on getting excited kids to sleep
  • Includes putting child to sleep earlier, not later, to allow extra time to wind down
  • Consider giving kids a high melatonin and tryptophan drink before their bedtime
  • Meanwhile parents should also limit amount of sugar children consume in day

With the anticipation of a visit from Santa, family visitors and a never ending supply of chocolate and sweets, Christmas Eve is just about the most exciting night of the year for children. 

But most parents know that after all that excitement, it can be near impossible to get kids to go to sleep ahead of Christmas Day. 

British parenting expert Andrew Copestone at Play Like Mum has revealed their top tips on how to get your little one to nod off, from putting them to bed earlier rather than later to making sure they’ve burned any excess energy during the day. 

While Christmas is a time of indulgence and treats for kids, the expert warned to limit the amount of sugar your children consume during the day and to consider giving a high melatonin and tryptophan drink before bedtime.  

Here, FEMAIL reveals expert advice on how to get your children to sleep when they’re buzzing with excitement for the big day. 

Parenting experts at Play Like Mum have revealed their top tips on getting kids to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, from putting them to bed earlier rather than later to giving a high melatonin drink. Stock image 


With so much to prepare ahead of Christmas Day, it can be tempting for parents to let children spend the day watching festive movies, playing on their devices and eating chocolate. 

But burning off excess energy by waking kids up early and having a day chocked full of festive activities could be the key to getting them to sleep soundly later in the day.  

And tiring out the kids doesn’t have to be a burden, with Andrew suggesting enlisting the little ones to help with food preparation or make Christmas cards to distribute to elderly neighbours as a gesture of festive goodwill. 

Parents could wander around local houses to take a look at Christmas lights, take the kids bake mince pies to leave out for Santa later or simply go on a long nature walk as a family. 


Christmas is the time to indulge in festive chocolate and sweets, and while it’s unrealistic to cut out treats completely – an excess of sugar can negatively impact sleep. 

Consider limiting the number of sweet treats your child can have on Christmas Eve and avoid the bedtime sugar rush by setting a cutoff time beyond which they are no longer allowed chocolate or sweets.  


Similarly, caffeinated or surgery drinks should be avoided in the hours before bedtime and replaced with drinks which can help promote sleep.  

A glass of warm milk, which contains amino acid tryptophan, a compound suggested to improve sleep and mood, could be the solution for kids struggling to sleep.  

Alternatively, a sugar-free cherry juice, which is said to increase the availability of tryptophan in the body ad contain sleep-inducing compound melatonin, could have a positive impact on sleep.


If family are planning to visit on Christmas Eve, ensure they are kept informed of your plan and give any chocolate treats for your children to parents to save for after Christmas Day. 

‘On the day of Christmas Eve, limit the intake of sugary treats throughout the day, keep up routines as much as possible and promote heavy activity so your kids are wiped out by the end of the day and eager to go to bed’, said Andrew Copestone, founder at Play Like Mum. 


While it may be tempting to put your kids to bed later to tire them out, it can actually be more beneficial to push their bedtime up by around half an hour, to allow them allow extra time to wind down.   

Have earlier dinners and baths and get them into bed an hour to 30 minutes earlier than their usual time to allow them adequate time to unwind and consider turning this into a game of who-can-fall-asleep-the-fastest. 

‘A good night’s sleep on Christmas Eve goes a long way to set the whole family up for a relaxed Christmas day’, said Andrew. 

‘If you want your kids to take you seriously when you try to get them to sleep the night before, you need to set a good example and do as you demand of them. 

‘Instead of being strict when you lay down the rules, consider turning as much as you can into a game and give your child options along the way so they feel in control of their actions.’

Experts advised putting your kids to bed earlier and reading them a bedtime story rather than letting them play on their devices. Stock image


Instead of leaving your kids to play games on their devices before bedtime, make sure to spend some quality time with them – perhaps reading a festive book or inventing your own stories. 

‘Spend quality time with them before bed, with all devices put away’, said Andrew.

‘During this time, you could distract them from their excitement by reading stories to them, invent your own imaginative stories together and enact them out with toys and costumes already at hand or make gratitude lists as a family. 

‘For those kids who have electronic devices incorporated into their bedtime ritual, you could schedule in a Christmassy movie before bed and coordinate the ending of the movie with the beginning of bedtime. 


If your child is refusing to go to bed due to excitement on Christmas Eve – consider the age old trick of pretending Santa won’t appear with their presents until everyone is fast asleep. 

By saying that their presents won’t arrive until they’re asleep, adults will build excitement for children going to bed rather than staying awake. 

Andrew also suggested being creative and incorporating this information into a bedtime story – this works well if you can begin a couple of days before Christmas Eve and keep it up every night so kids lose the urge to bargain about it.

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