This week we're delighted to bring you a very special guest post from the wonderful Eliana Beeson, certified Paediatric Consultant and owner of Little Angel Sleep Consulting. Eliana is a Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant, Member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IASC), and proud Mum to Sofia, who is 22 months. She is the first and only Certified Child Sleep Consultant in Italy, her home country.
Through a gentle, customised sleep approach, Eliana has helped many families, in the UK and internationally, establish healthy sleep habits for their children. She works with children aged 7 weeks- 8 years and with expecting parents who are willing to get their babies off to a great sleep start from the very beginning. We're thrilled to have Eliana share her top Christmas Eve sleep tips here on the blog. Do get in touch if you have any comments or questions: leave a comment below, or find Eliana on Facebook.
3 TOP SLEEP TIPS TO HELP YOUR TODDLER SLEEP BETTER ON CHRISTMAS EVE
There is a time in a child’s life where pushing boundaries is an everyday matter. That time is toddlerhood. There is so much to take in, learn and explore for a toddler that they really don’t want to miss out on anything. In an attempt to establish their own identity, toddlers try challenging pretty much everything parents try doing or saying in their best interest. This challenging attitude applies to sleep as well, of course.
If there is one time of the year where children get super excited, it's Christmas. Now imagine for a second these two ingredients, excitement and boundary pushing, mixing together... Well, you can easily picture the explosive cocktail that can result!
The decorations, the letters to Santa, the eager wait for Christmas morning to open presents… all that excitement in the run up to Christmas can translate into quite an interesting bedtime experience for parents of toddlers on Christmas Eve. If the last thing you want this holiday season are bedtime battles, screaming when going down, or typical toddler stalling tactics, here are my top 3 sleep tips to help your toddler sleep better on Christmas Eve – while you enjoy a relaxing celebration!:
1. Do a special Christmas activity during the day.
Christmas only comes once a year. It’s important to make it special, whilst making sure you are honouring your child’s sleep needs. Getting your little one active and outside during the day is key to creating enough (but not too much!) tiredness at bedtime. The exposure to sunlight also helps regulate their body clock, making their job of falling asleep easier at night. You can go ice skating, go for a walk in the countryside in search of reindeer, go take pictures with Santa and his elves or to a nice child-friendly Christmas market. Ideally, the special activity should be in the morning. It's better to use the afternoon to wind down and do some calmer activities.
2. Cut sugar intake and screen time.
There is already enough excitement going on during the Holidays that you really don’t need to add any extra stimulation. The refined sugar contained in cakes and sweets is a stimulant, and chocolate contains both refined sugar and caffeine. So sweets really make winding down before bed more difficult. This can lead to bedtime battles and to a long, perhaps frustrating, falling asleep process.
Electronics (TV, tablets, phones) emit blue light which can block the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that signals our body it’s time to go to sleep. So avoid screen time for at least 2 hours before bedtime. Get your child entertained in alternative ways. Maybe they would like to prepare a drawing for Santa? Or create some special Christmas decorations for the house?
3. Add a unique Christmas tweak to their bedtime routine.
For a bedtime routine to be effective, it needs to include the same activities carried out the same way every night. This way, your child can predict when it’s time to go to sleep and go down calm and happy. However, Christmas comes once a year and your child is going to be excited to see what presents Santa brings overnight. So, before the end of your bedtime routine, you can create some motivation, saying that Santa will be bringing presents that night… but only to those kids who are asleep. And if you are using a Gro Clock or Hatch Baby Rest clock – which are great to keep your toddler in bed a little longer in the morning – you can set it to light up a little earlier. This way, your little one can get up at the crack of dawn to unwrap the presents without any change to your sleep rules.
Happy Holidays and, as usual, sleep well!