LONDON — You may be off for the holiday, but if you’ve got kids, you’ll likely still be up and at ’em at the crack of dawn. A new survey found that parents of young children are most likely to be awoken bright and early by the excited little ones on Christmas Day.
More specifically, those with kids between ages two and six were typically awoken no later than 6:45 in the morning. And one in six parents will find themselves jarred awake in the middle of the night by children who are simply too excited about Christmas to sleep.
On the other hand, if your children are now teenagers, you’ll be much more likely to sleep in. The survey of 2,000 parents, commissioned by United Kingdom bedding company Happy Beds, also found that teens were least likely to wake up before their folks. Just 15 percent rise and shine before 7 a.m.
And while some might stay in bed if woken up too early, 37 percent of parents wind up getting out of bed and heading downstairs with the children to begin opening presents.
“It’s understandable that young children will be buzzing with energy this Christmas Eve ahead of the gifts, food and celebration of Christmas Day. Parents will need to consider taking action if they want to ensure they get a restless, undisturbed night of sleep,” says Joy Richards, a sleep specialist with Happy Beds, in a release.
Interestingly, despite the early wakeup calls, the survey found that the typical gift-opening bonanza doesn’t begin until around 8:48 a.m.
Meanwhile, with parents well aware of their children’s sleeping habits, one-fifth of respondents admit they’ll try getting the kids down early in hopes of settling them down. The same number say they’ll even cut sweets off earlier than usual in hopes of tiring them out. Twenty-two percent admit they’ll also limit phone time on Christmas Eve, while one in six say they’ll purposely put on a lame holiday movie in hopes of boring the kids into tiredness.
No matter what tactic you take, the survey showed a third of parents say getting the kids to bed on Christmas Eve is a stressful situation. In all, it takes an average of 33 minutes to get a child to finally fall asleep.
“Try limiting your child’s snacking before bedtime to avoid any sugar highs, and even a long walk or a relaxing Christmas film can ensure your kids are nodding off and staying asleep the whole night,” says Richards.
What’s a desperate parent to do with a child who simply won’t go to bed? Half of the respondents admit to trying to scare their kids into sleep, telling them, “Santa won’t come if you’re still awake.” Sixteen percent will warn the children that they’re going to be added to Santa’s Naughty List.
And one in six will attempt to stall the kids by giving them a present from their stocking.
As for why kids can’t fall asleep, besides the obvious excitement, which was the most common reason, three in 10 just want to be awake when Santa makes his arrival down the chimney. Another 18 percent want to take one more look at the Christmas tree. Thirteen percent just want the sweets.
“Christmas Day is one of the most enjoyable, but also the most hectic, days of the year, and feeling well-rested and ready to tackle all the festivities can make the difference between one to remember – and one you nap through entirely,” says Richards.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.