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10 positive parenting phrases to get your child to sleep on Christmas eve

10. "In the morning, we're going to open presents, eat breakfast and then go to Grandma's house."

phrases to get your child to sleep on Christmas

Few experiences are more magical than witnessing Christmas morning through your child's eyes. What's not so magical? Engaging in bedtime battles on Christmas Eve or waking to voices begging to open presents at 4:30 a.m. Christmas morning (especially after "Santa" was up well past midnight assembling brand-new bikes, dollhouses, play kitchens and more).

As much as you may be trying to stick to your regular routine, chances are that things aren't so routine the night before Christmas. And that's okay—it's part of what makes the season so special! Unfortunately, it can also cause kids to ramp up the resistance when you need them to do something they may not want to do like going to bed.

While nothing could be more Scrooge than threatening to keep the big guy at bay if little heads don't hit the hay, using these 10 phrases can help set the stage for a silent night:

1. "Christmas begins when the alarm clock dings."

Before the age of 7, kids have a very loose grasp on the concept of time. An alarm clock offers a more concrete way of letting them know when it's an acceptable time to get out of bed rather than simply instructing your child to wait until morning (after all, 5:00 a.m. is technically morning).

Set the alarm clock together and have your child press start so that they feel involved in the process. Remind your child that once the clock dings, Christmas begins and you can all go downstairs as a family.

2. "Let's go sledding!"

As tempting as it may be to tune in to a Christmas movie marathon, make it your mission to tire your child out on Christmas Eve. Carve out time to play outside during the day—such as taking a hike, riding bikes, sledding, having snowball fights, going ice skating, playing catch or walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Even with all of the excitement and anticipation your child is feeling, if they're adequately exhausted at bedtime they'll soon succumb to sleep.

3. "If you wake during the night, remember to do the sleep wiggle."

Often, when kids wake at night they shuffle into your room simply because they don't know what else to do with their little bodies. Teaching your child the sleep wiggle provides a set of moves they can easily remember to help them return to sleep.

First, roll over on your tummy, grab your lovey, snuggle in and close your eyes. Be sure to practice the sleep wiggle together during the day.

4. "A good night's sleep will give you lots of energy to play with your new toys on Christmas Day!"

Use positive sleep speak at least three times during the day—especially if you have a child who struggles with sleep even when Christmas isn't around the corner. Praise your child for every successful bedtime and naptime. Saying things like, "Wow, you took such a big nap today!" or "I was so proud of you when you fell asleep on your own last night!" can make a difference.

Try naturally working positive sleep speak into your day.

5. "Alexa, set the timer for 10 minutes."

Try providing kids with plenty of warning before a transition occurs and be as clear as possible with your expectations: "When the timer goes off, we're going to walk upstairs and you're going to take a bath and get ready for bed."

6. "Let's play Zingo!"

Plan to power down all electronics one to two hours before bedtime. Research suggests that the light and stimulation from screens may interfere with the body's natural ability to fall asleep. Consider building a new tradition and playing a family-friendly board game before bed.

7. "I'll turn on the white noise machine so Santa doesn't wake you up."

With everything your child has to look forward to the next day, they may wake more easily at night or early in the morning. Using continuous white noise can help block out any sounds (like, ahem, Santa's workshop working overtime after the kids are in bed) that could cause your kid to stir.

8. "Here's a bedtime snack."

Offer sleep-inducing snacks such as warm milk, whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana, a small bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, or cheese and crackers. These foods contain a variety of compounds such as protein and melatonin that can help soothe them to sleep.

Bonus: If festivities during the day meant they didn't eat well at meals, a bedtime snack could help quell grumbling tummies and buy you some extra time in bed come morning.

9. "Santa will arrive after everyone's asleep."

Consider this phrasing for a more encouraging, rather than threatening ("If you don't go to sleep, Santa isn't going to come!") approach. For extra creativity points, have a family member ring a little bell outside while you're putting your little one to bed and say, "I think I hear the reindeer flying by! Let's go to sleep so Santa can stop here!"

If you don't follow the Santa tradition, try saying things like, "your body is growing so big and strong when you're sleeping," to help place sleep in a positive light and make it more appealing for your child.

10. "In the morning, we're going to open presents, eat breakfast and then go to Grandma's house."

While many children may be buzzing with excitement about Christmas Day, other kids are going to feel anxious. They know it's different from a typical day, but they may not be sure what to expect. This can be unsettling and interfere with their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If this sounds like your child, take a few moments at the end of the day to talk with your child about what they can expect at Christmas. Let them know that you're available to answer any questions, talk and remind them that you'll be together all day long.

With these phrases, you'll set a clear and positive tone when it comes to your child's sleep on Christmas Eve and you may just experience a Christmas miracle: a full night of rest before a very special day.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

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