For years my children woke up way too early on Christmas morning. Are you having the same problem? I totally understand the excitement but, I am cranky when I don't get at least a few good hours of sleep and that's the last thing I want to be on Christmas! There was one Christmas when my oldest woke up every hour on the hour hoping it was time to open presents. After that, I knew we had to do something different. Introducing, the Christmas Morning Fun Zone!
Let your children have fun together in the morning while you get a little more sleep. We’ve had a Christmas Morning Fun Zone for years now. My kids look forward to what activities there are to do in the morning almost as much as finding out what Santa brought. It’s been so helpful and such a fun tradition. This year make your own Christmas Morning Fun Zone and get a little bit of extra sleep too!
How to Set Up Your Christmas Morning Fun Zone
While you can make the Fun Zone a surprise for your children, I recommend laying out all the expectations the day before so it's clear as to what they can and can't do come Christmas morning. For example, if the clock says anything before 5:00 AM then they need to go back to bed. Another clear expectation we set is how far they can venture out into the house. We like to keep the room with all the gifts a surprise, so we put a baby gate up in the hallway to mark the limit. They still have access to a bathroom but they can't sneak a peek at what's inside their stocking. Other things to consider discussing before they nod off to sleep Christmas Eve:
The volume level- encourage whispering only so the other children can still sleep. We tell ours that the louder they are in the morning, the longer it takes us to get out of bed. It totally works.
What time you will wake up so they can at least know there is an end to their waiting.
To clean up after themselves- we won't let them out of their zone until everything is tidied.
What to Include Inside Your Fun Zone
The goal of the Fun Zone is to provide activities for your children to quietly do while you get a little more sleep. Ask yourself three questions before putting something inside your zone:
Will your children be able to do the activity quietly?
Will it make a big mess?
Will it keep them busy for more than two minutes?
One year I made the mistake of putting some food out. It was a disaster zone instead. I do not recommend it. Before you finish up your Christmas Morning Fun Zone, also remember to check if there are things one person can do on their own. The first person awake needs to be able to entertain themselves quietly.
If you have young children, I recommend keeping some small toys aside for only this morning. That way they are new and entertaining. As for older children, you need things that will keep their minds occupied. I don't like putting electronics in the zone for a few reasons. First, I'm afraid of someone stepping on them in the morning- not the way we want to start Christmas. Second, I want to keep the anticipation and wonder of the morning. When they plug into a game or movie, they get that glazed over look in their eyes and you have to snap them out of it. When they do Christmas activities together in the morning, they get to bond with their siblings and build the excitement instead.
What exactly do you put in your fun zone? Games, puzzles, a clock, and more. Grab my Christmas Morning Fun Zone packet and have it covered! My Fun Zone packet includes:
Welcome Banner and Poster- mark you zone off and greet your children while you sleep.
Last Person Awake Award- This is a great way to encourage your children to really sleep. The last person awake gets the privilege of opening the first official Christmas present. In my version, there is a twist though! They can choose to open the first present or give that reward to someone else and go for option #2.
Cootie Catchers- These are easy to use and so much fun. The filled in version includes trivia questions about Christmas but there is a blank one too so your children can write in their own surprises.
Would You Rather Questions- Let your children debate over these 45+ Christmas themed questions (these would be great for a road trip to Grandma's house too- the more people that play, the more fun it is).
Stocking Stumpers- Three pages of picture clues to guess the Christmas song.
Christmas Jokes- Keep the spirits high with 40 fun jokes.
Tic Tac Toe Boards- A classic game with a Christmas decor.
Finish the Scene Pages- Add some markers or crayons and finish the Christmas scenes. Includes prompts to get your children's imaginations running and keep the wonder of the morning going strong.
Christmas Melts- Twisted picture riddles great for younger ones.
I Spy Sheets- Two versions for different difficulty levels
Prep everything and put it inside a Christmas gift bag now so all you have to do is pull it out come Christmas Eve. Worried you will forget about it? Tell your Google Home (or Alexa) to remind you where you put it on Christmas Eve. I love having something else that will help me remember. You can also schedule it in your calendar.
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