I’m a child sleep expert and this is the secret weapon you need to keep your kids in bed on Christmas morning

T'WAS the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… but you can bet by 5am the kids will be in your bedroom, manically begging to open their pressies.

It's a problem that happens every single year, and as you've been up late finishing wrapping the obscene amount of presents you've bought, all you want is a little sleep before the day kicks off.


So what's the solution? Here, Andrew Jacobs, Child Sleep Expert at OTTY, gives his tips on how to keep kids in bed that *little* bit longer on Christmas morning. 

He says: “During the festive season, kids’ energy levels can be through the roof.

"Whether it’s the sugary treats, school holidays or the excitement of opening their presents, it’s common for children to find it difficult to switch off in the run up to the big day. 

“Perhaps even more of a struggle than getting younger kids ready for bed come Christmas Eve is the task of ensuring little ones don’t wake up at a ridiculously early hour on Christmas morning."

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The thought of Santa arriving can mean children struggle to sleepCredit: Getty

Burn the candle at both ends

What you do on Christmas Eve will set the tone for the big day ahead, and can make a huge difference.

Andrew says: "It might sound a little obvious but your kids are much more likely to stay in bed for longer on Christmas morning if they have an active and busy day burning energy on Christmas Eve. 

"During December 24th, try taking your little ones out for a long walk in the fresh winter air, and in the evening keep them occupied with a Christmas Eve box and movies, or by playing their favourite board games and brainteasers.

"Then, once it gets to the end of the night, they will hopefully be ready to switch off and hit their pillow for a long sleep."

A practical purchase

At this time of year we're preoccupied with what presents to buy, but actually saving up for a more practical buy earlier in the year might have a big impact.

Andrew says: "Due to their amazing light-blocking effect, blackout curtains are a great way to ensure that you don’t get woken up by early streaks of sunlight.

"Therefore investing in some good quality blackout blinds for your child’s bedroom will most definitely tempt them to stay in bed for longer on Christmas morning.

"They might as well think it’s 3AM when they wake up."

A sneaky strategy

An even sneakier measure for those parents willing to play 'dirty' involves a small trick with the clocks.

Andrew says: "If you’re certain that your child will be banging on your door at an ungodly hour on Christmas morning, you could set their bedside clock a few hours back as a test to see if it encourages them to hold off bothering you for a few hours more. 

"A cheeky move, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

"Of course, this will only work on children that are old enough to tell the time, and that don’t have access to their mobile phone or any other electronic device that might alert them to your strategy."

Stocking trick

If you want to keep the little ones from bugging you at silly o clock, you may be able to stave them off with a little bit of present bribery.

Andrew says: "We all know the main reason why little ones (and even some adults!) struggle to stay in bed on Christmas morning is because they know they’ve got a living room full of presents to open.

"With this in mind, parents could try adding an extra stocking to their child’s bedroom.

"Having these treats to open and play with will sure keep them occupied for a while, meaning that parents can get that extra snooze time." 

Good things come to those who wait

However, if giving them gifts first thing will just rile your kids up even more, you could go the opposite way and try a completely different tactic.

Finally, Andrew adds: "Telling your kids that you will be opening presents later on in the day may tempt them to stay in bed for longer in the morning.

"This is especially if the family is used to exchanging presents first thing in the morning.

"This change in routine will tell your child all the exciting stuff will not happen until the afternoon or evening, and so there’s obviously no point in getting up in the early hours of the morning."

If this isn't a problem but you need to get your kids to behave when the relatives are round this Christmas, child behaviour expert Sophie Giles spoke exclusively to Fabulous about how you can ensure that this year's festivities are smooth sailing.

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