Christmas is right around the corner, and you’re probably busy ticking things off your Christmas to-do list (and checking it twice). Some presents might be wrapped, festive food might be waiting in the freezer, but for most parents, there’s one thing each year that’s always tricky to prepare for – how to get the kids off to sleep on Christmas Eve!
Santa stop here! Find out what we’re doing to help families rest easy this Christmas
Unsurprisingly, the majority of UK parents think their child will struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve due to the excitement of opening presents – or wanting to sneak a peek at Santa. But the good news is that we’ve got you covered for Christmas 2022! We did a little research into some of the best ways parents can get little ones to nod off on the night before Christmas.
According to our poll of 2,000 parents with kids aged 3-12, more than a fifth (21%) tell little ones that Santa won’t be able to come down the chimney until they fall asleep, while another 13% warn that the Elf on the Shelf is still watching to make sure they drop off before midnight. Another great idea is reading a special Christmas story to little ones on the night of December 24th, a tradition loved by nearly one in five of those we asked.
An impressive 38% will make sure Christmas Eve is filled with active play to tire kids out by bedtime, while 33% will limit how many sweet treats kids have to avoid an evening sugar rush – good thinking!
Our survey also revealed that a third of children were worried Santa wouldn’t be able to find them if they were staying away from home on Christmas Eve. So, to help kids rest easy this festive season, we’ve created a special hotel key card and door hanger for Santa to let kids know he’ll still be able to visit them in our Premier Inn hotels. Santa’s sleigh will even have its own special reserved space right outside all our hotels with car parks on Christmas Eve!
Our teams have been busy getting ready for Santa!
Santa’s very own key card to make sure everyone gets their gifts
VIP parking – we’ve reserved a spot for Santa’s sleigh!
Tamara Strauss, our Global Customer Director said:
“Our hotels don’t have chimneys so some kids are, understandably, worried about how Santa will be able to visit them when they are away from home and staying in one of our hotel rooms. We’re happy to do all we can to reassure kids on the most important night of the year that nothing will get between them and their presents.
“Being away for Christmas to see family and friends is exciting, but we know it’s so important to have those comforting Christmas Eve traditions and rituals wherever you are. Of course, like any of our guests from all over the world and every walk of life, we want Santa’s visit, however fleeting, to be as easy as possible so we’ve put a few things in place for him too.”
Our research found that out of those who sometimes spent the festive season elsewhere, 34% of kids don’t mind where they spend Christmas, but 39% actually like the idea of going away. To reassure kids, 40% of parents will send Santa an amended delivery address, 33% will research local traditions if they’re going further afield, and nearly a tenth will even bring a special sign wherever they’re going, to help Santa and his reindeer know where to touch down.
This year, we were delighted to work with Gentle Baby & Child Sleep Consultant Andrea Grace to help create some top tips for parents to help their kids drop off on Christmas Eve.
“Even adults can remember the excitement of Christmas Eve and, as they get older as a parent, the Christmas sleep schedule can be a stressful experience. It’s important to try and put yourself in your child’s shoes on December 24th and keep the magic alive whilst making sure everyone gets enough rest to enjoy Christmas day.
“Ensuring your kids go to bed at a reasonable time is challenging enough, without the excitement of waking up to gifts the next day. Instead of getting annoyed or threatening Santa won’t visit, try creating a calm atmosphere, reassuring them sleep will come eventually so they can relax. If they’re still struggling to sleep, you can read them a book or make them a warm drink to help them nod off naturally.
“For many kids it’s the single most exciting night of the year, so it’s no wonder they have trouble dropping off. Planning ahead to ensure you’re equipped to help your little one’s sleep is essential for a peaceful night. Staying away from sugary food, getting enough exposure to daylight and sticking to routine all play a key part in making sure everyone gets enough shut eye before the big day. And don’t forget to go to bed early yourself, as Christmas Day will be a very busy one for you!”
Families can rest easy thanks to our ‘Santa stop here’ signs
Kids can even write their own message for the man himself!
‘Tis the season, and now we’re all set for Christmas Eve
Check out sleep expert Andrea Grace’s top tips to help kids go to sleep on Christmas Eve:
- If you’re going to be away from home, take a familiar sleep-related object with you, such as a special blanket or toy, so that they feel a sense of security and familiarity.
- Exposure to daylight will help set your child’s body clock to sleep at night. Try to go for a walk or encourage play outside on Christmas Eve.
- Keep your child’s bedroom as dark as possible – you could even invest in blackout curtains like the ones in our hotel rooms!
- A warm drink at bedtime can help children settle. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid which helps sleep. Other tryptophan-rich foods are cheese, tuna, turkey and bananas.
- Avoid sweets and fizzy drinks: sugar in their system can cause children problems when getting off to sleep, and can keep them in a lighter sleep during the night.
- Turn all screens off at least half an hour before bedtime, as screen exposure isn’t good for sleep.
- Have a few minutes of precious “golden time” time, spent cuddling, reading or chatting about Christmas Day together before starting a bedtime routine.
- Don’t rush your child to bed too early on Christmas Eve, especially if they have been travelling during the day and have slept during the journey.
- Equally, don’t let your child become over-tired. This can raise their cortisol levels, making sleep difficult and leading to very early morning waking.
- Follow your usual bedtime routine with the same clear and recognizable series of steps leading up to bedtime. Start the routine about half an hour before you feel your child is ready to sleep rather than having a time that is set in stone.
- A warm bath is thought to promote production of the sleep hormone melatonin and is a great sleep cue.
- Some deep stretches in your child’s bedtime routine, ideally after their bath, will support their sensory needs and help them to calm down when over-excited.
- Finish the bedtime routine with a Christmas storybook. This will help make for a calm and special atmosphere.
- Don’t let them take a screen device to bed with them for distraction. It will only keep them awake for longer.
- Ask older children to close their eyes, and make a list in their head of 10 Christmas items. Light meditation exercise will move their focus away from trying to sleep.
- For younger children, you could leave a gentle audio Christmas story playing for them to listen to as they drift off. This may need to remain playing at a low volume on a loop all night, so they don’t feel there’s something missing when they naturally wake up.