Christmas day is only a few days away, are you ready?  Once the presents are bought and wrapped, one thing that is always challenging is getting the kids to settle down to fall asleep.  Every year the anticipation for Santa Claus seems to hinder sleep.  Here are some tips to help make bedtime less challenging on Christmas Eve:

Keep them active throughout the day:

There is nothing like a lot of fresh air and activity to make little one's sleepy.  Keeping your children busy throughout the day will help make them sleepier in the evening and transition into bedtime less challenging.

Encourage a bath before bedtime:

Bedtime baths are wonderful for helping children feel sleepy when going to bed.  Baths drop the body temperature, naturally making them feel sleepy.

Glass of warm milk before bed:

Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, also found in turkey.  This produces a sleep feeling, and the warmth of the milk is very soothing.

Keep sugar intake to a minimum throughout the day:

Avoid as much sugar as possible throughout the day, but especially at bedtime.  An intake of sugar will cause boundless energy, thus preventing them from falling asleep.

Stick to your normal bedtime routine:

Although kids are very excited about the Christmas morning, it is important that you stick to the regular bedtime schedule.  Keeping kids up later than normal will cause them to be overtired, which will actually have the reverse effect.

Send them to bed early:

Kids are excited and will naturally try to fight sleep.  Try putting them to bed a half hour earlier.  This will help them to not miss out on too much sleep due to excitement.

Decide on a time for opening presents:

If you have a set time with your kids on when it is acceptable to get up to open presents, this should help avoid some of the early wake-ups from occurring.  For younger children this could be a little more challenging.  There are some great clocks that allow parents to set a wake-up and bedtime light on the clock.  Red would mean it is sleep time and green means it is okay to wake up.

Make sure their surrounding is as normal as possible:

If you are going out of town for Christmas, try to duplicate their surroundings from home as much a possible.  You can do this by bringing their favorite stuffed animal(s), blanket, pillow, book, etc.

Turn off TV's, computers, and mobile phones:

Tell them that after a certain time all electronics will need to be shut off.  The light from those gadgets actually stops the production of Melatonin, the hormone that tells your body when it is time to go to bed.

If all else fails...

Remind them that Santa cannot come unless they are asleep:

Sometimes kids are just way too excited for anything to really help calm them down.  They will definitely want Santa to come and bring them their presents, so they will fall asleep will eventually...it just may take a while.