Bedtime stories are a wonderful way to relax little ones before going to sleep, they provide invaluable bonding time between parent and child and can be beneficial for children’s language and cognitive development. The night before Christmas is an exciting time for children so finding a way to help them relax and drift off before the big day is likely to be on many parents’ wish lists.

Create a cosy bedtime routine

There are lots of hints and tips on how to help your child relax before bedtime for a good night’s sleep. We’ve collated the most popular ones here:

  • Be consistent, choose a time for bed and stick to it
  • Avoid screen time before bed (around an hour before is recommended)
  • Run them a warm (not hot) bath and try to keep the atmosphere calming – no boisterous play or shouting
  • Keep the lights in your home dim in the run-up to bedtime, this will encourage your child’s body to produce the sleepy hormone melatonin
  • Make sure their bedroom is dark, cool and quiet (somewhere between 16 and 20°C is most recommended)
  • Read them a bedtime story
  • Allow them to have a security object such as a cuddly toy or a blanket to help reassure them and make them feel safe
  • Encourage them to try some relaxation breathing exercises
  • Remember to reward a child for good behaviour the next morning – sticker charts are a popular choice

If your child wakes up in the night from a bad dream or nightmare, there are ways to be supportive, understanding and help them avoid the impact of night-time terrors in the future.

Check out this post for more information: How to talk to your children about their nightmares.

Although this is largely a magical and exciting time of year for families, there can be overexcitement issues; some children are even fearful of Santa; and routines can be harder to stick to when parents are extra busy with festive planning. Check out this article, How to embrace excitement and still get to sleep on Christmas Eve for tips and tricks on how to help yourself stay calm and organised so you can get a good night’s sleep. If your little one is frightened of Santa, this article on Santaphobia provides insight into the possible reasons why and how you can help them overcome their Father Christmas fear.

We’ve created a charming bedtime story for you to share with your little ones in the run-up to Christmas. It’s all about the excitement of Christmas Eve and getting to sleep before Santa arrives.

We wish you and your children a great night’s sleep.

The biggest sleep of the year

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! But there’s too much to do,
Before I snuggle up in bed, my list I must go through.
It’s time to tick them one by one and check that all’s in place,
And then I’ll rest my sleepy eyes, a smile upon my face.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Is everything prepared?
What if Santa turns up and he thinks I haven’t cared?
So let me leave a mince pie there, just by the twinkling tree,
A bite of that deliciousness to fill him up with glee.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! What else should I leave out?
Oh yes, a carrot would be good, of that there is no doubt.
For Rudolph might get peckish, when he bobs round to my pad,
I’ll leave a big one out for him, the best he’s ever had.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Excitement’s through the roof.
Will this year be quite different? Should I make sure it’s fool proof?
If Santa goes from house to house, he’ll want to stay all clean,
I’ve got lots of hand soap, let me leave some on the scene.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Is everything just right?
I sent my letter off this year, made sure I was polite.
The snow has started falling, and I’m feeling kind of tired,
Hopefully I’ve done the things that Santa has required.

Now I’ll sleep. It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve got a snoozy head,
Put on my festive jim jams, left my stocking by the bed.
I’m wrapped up nice and warm, a fluffy pillow by my face,
When night‐time’s done, will he have come, and visited my place?

Fast asleep! It’s Christmas Eve. A wonder does await.
Whilst I am in a dreamland, Santa’s moving, can’t be late.
What will he think of all those things I’ve left out when he’s here?
Perhaps he’ll leave a gift for me, the morning’s now so near.

Wide awake! It’s Christmas Day. My duvet’s in the air,
I know that I should make my bed, but frankly I don’t care.
Dashing down the stairs because there’s just no time to wait,
Santa’s been, it’s not a dream, this feeling feels just great.

Wide awake! It’s Christmas Day. And Santa’s left a note.
I can’t believe it’s there for me, I wonder what he wrote?
The paper has my name on and it’s stamped from the North Pole,
It’s sitting near a gift for me. Phew! No lump of coal.

‘Hello You!’ ‘It’s Christmas Day’, the note said as I read,
‘Thank you for the things you left, you clearly planned ahead.
Rudolph loved his carrot, that you thoughtfully did place,
The rainbow in your window, did you make that? It looks ace!’

‘You can’t sleep on Christmas Eve, I think I heard you say?
You wanted to make sure that all was right this special day.
But whilst I’m super‐grateful that you went to all this fuss,
There’s something more important that I think we should discuss’.

‘I’ve come here, this Christmas Day, for one thing you have done,
It’s actually not the mince pie, though devouring it was fun,
I came because I heard in this last year you’ve been a star,
You’ve shown you’ve been extremely good and just how kind you are.’

‘I’ve come here, this Christmas Day, you’ve been a smashing kid,
I asked those who are close to you, the kind of things you did.
They said that you’re a brilliant friend, helping others out,
Although you can be cheeky, you hardly ever scream and shout.’

‘I’m here for you, this Christmas Day, cos if the rumour’s true,
You’re always putting others first, that’s the best thing you can do.
And though from time to time a tiny naughty streak arrives,
Whoever you spend time around, you lift up all their lives.’

‘I’ll return, next Christmas Day, but do one thing for me,
The most important act of all, I’m sure we can agree.
All that I would like from you? It’s not what you leave out,
It’s how you treat the ones you’re with, that’s what I’m all about.’

‘So sleep well on this Christmas Day, we’ll see each other soon,
And keep up all the good work, as I fly towards the moon.
Just one last thing I’ll say to you, ignore it if you wish,
Feel free to still leave mince pies… they’re incredibly delish!