A sleep expert shares her top tip to get kids to sleep on Christmas Eve

Treat yourself to a full nights sleep this year

Getting kids to sleep can be a tricky task at the best of times. But on Christmas eve, urging your little ones into bed so that their stockings can be filled in secret is an almighty task. Even some light bribery can't always get them to shut their eyes.

Related: Christmas Eve box ideas – festive tradition to make the night before even more magical

Luckily sleep expert and found of Kally Sleep, Ori Leslau has some surefire tips on how to get your child to sleep on Christmas Eve, and all year round.

How to get your child to sleep on Christmas Eve

1. Go outside for some fresh air

shed house with bench wooden wall and grass

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Taking the kids for a walk on Christmas Eve will help them wind down for bed in the evening.

'Enjoying time outside during the day goes a long way towards a good night’s sleep. Fresh air makes our bodies produce more serotonin, which in turn leaves us feeling happy and relaxed,' explains Ori.


'We naturally burn more energy when we’re outdoors too (especially in chillier weather) so it’s the perfect way to tire the kids out!”

2. Stick to a routine

'This one might be easier said than done but it’s still worth keeping as much of a normal routine as you can – even if it takes longer or happens later than usual!' says Ori.


On Christmas Eve try to stick to your kid's normal bedtime routine. Or if it's going to be different chat to your little ones about it suggests Ori.  'Explain how it’s going to be different and what they can expect. Then try to get back to normal bedtime routines once January comes around.'

3. Don’t eat late-night snacks

Food with blur background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

We all enjoy indulging at Christmas especially with sweet treats. While it might be tempting to slip your little monsters a mince pie or chocolate Santa before bed, a sugary treat will make it harder for you to get them to sleep.


'Whilst it’s lovely to indulge, keep an eye on how much sugar your kids are consuming,' explains Ori. 'Sugar can stimulate the body (we’ve all heard of “sugar highs”) which can then have a negative effect on the quality of sleep. Too much sugar can also make it hard to get to sleep in the first place.'


'Choose a cut off time a few hours before bedtime and avoid offering sweets and sugary treats after this time.'

4. Try a bedtime story

'If your child’s brain is buzzing with excitement on Christmas Eve and sleep is looking less and less likely, try getting them to settle with an audiobook or some quiet music,' suggests Ori.


'It might well help them to focus their minds on something, rather than laying there attempting to sleep before Santa arrives. Once they’re calm and settled they’re much more likely to nod off naturally.'

5. Take time to relax as a family

Bedroom with white walls bed and curtains

(Image credit: Future Plc)

This is going to be a strange Christmas for many households this year. Take the precious time you might have together as a family on Christmas Eve to relax together.

Related: Five lovely ideas for celebrating Christmas day virtually with the whole family

'Do some baking, enjoy a film or play a game perhaps,' suggests Ori. 'Set aside some time away from the internet or mobile phones and you’ll be amazed at how everyone relaxes and the kids calm down a lot too.'

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.