Tag Archives: santa

Kids Eat Free and meet Santa at Roast

If you find yourself in Borough Market, Sunday lunch at the deliciously British Roast is a ‘must do’.  In fact, they’ve just added a Turkey Dinner to their menu, to get you in the festive mood.

In addition, the restaurant will also be offering its Kids Eat Free promotion throughout the Christmas holidays, whereby every child under 12 dining with a full paying adult will receive a complimentary children’s meal. And on Christmas Eve Santa will be present from 1-4pm, giving out candy to the children and available to take photos with.

Go here for Reservations.

Night before Xmas? Get those kids to sleep…

image: Getty

Getting young children into their beds and staying there can challenge parents at the best of times, let alone the night before Christmas. From leaving a carrot for the reindeer, to late night carol singing, there are lots of good reasons that bedtime routines fall into disarray on Christmas Eve.

Here, world sleep expert from the University of Oxford and co-founder of digital sleep improvement programme Sleepio, Professor Colin Espie, has compiled the top 5 tips to get your kids off to sleep before Santa stops by.

1. Be active during the day

There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off. Take a break from Christmas movies and head to the park to help expend excess energy in good time before bed.

2. Stick to bedtime routines and rituals

A consistent bedtime routine, or a set of specific ‘rituals’ before lights out, will signal that it’s time to sleep. If you’re staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual. Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle in a new location. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home.

3. Act before your child gets overtired

Young children are often reluctant to admit that they’re tired – even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to be overtired, which is often the driver for ‘hyper’ behaviour. Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don’t feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed or crib with the lights low. If you notice that your child is often overtired at night, experiment by shifting the whole bedtime routine forwards by 15-30 minutes.

4. Give plenty of notice

Give plenty of notice when bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the cartoon will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for two books.” A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed. If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behavior. Be as neutral and uninteresting as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times. Consistency is key – even at Christmas – to help the whole family sleep well.

5. And if all else fails…

With a house full of guests, your child may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going up to bed. If you’ve followed the tips above and still have a stubborn and weary young one, hanging onto the banisters in slumber-protest: the suggestion that Father Christmas only leaves presents for children who are asleep might just be enough incentive to encourage lights out. At least that’s what the elves told me.

Sleepio is an six-week online sleep programme for adults, clinically proven to help those with long-term sleep problems fall asleep, stay asleep and feel better during the day

Should parents lie to children about Santa?

Ever had the debate about what to tell your kids about Santa? Does the magic of Xmas outweigh the creation and perpetuation of a myth? (In our house, just this morning our four year old was in tears because he was worried he’d be in the naughty list…)

Here’s an intellectual viewpoint – food for thought…

Shops are bursting with toys, mince pies are on the menu and radios are blasting out Christmas tunes – so it’s time for another festive favourite: lying to children.

Millions of parents convince their kids Father Christmas is real – but this lie may be damaging, according to psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay.

They also suggest parents may not be motivated by purely creating magic for their children, but by a desire to return to the joy of childhood themselves.

Writing in the Lancet Psychiatry, they say children’s trust in their parents may be undermined by the Santa lie.

“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?” they write.

They also say idea of an all-seeing North Pole intelligence agency which judges every child as naughty or nice is – when considered as an adult – terrifying.

Professor Boyle, of the University of Exeter, says: “The morality of making children believe in such myths has to be questioned.

“All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told.

“Whether it’s right to make children believe in Father Christmas is an interesting question, and it’s also interesting to ask whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered.”

The authors accept that lying to children may sometimes be right.

“An adult comforting a child and telling them that their recently deceased pet will go to a special place (animal heaven) is arguably nicer than telling graphic truths about its imminent re-entry into the carbon cycle,” they write.

But the Father Christmas fantasy may not be purely for the children, according to the authors.

For adults, it’s a chance to go back to a time when they believed in magic.

Dr McKay, of the University of New England, Australia, says: “The persistence of fandom in stories like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Doctor Who well into adulthood demonstrates this desire to briefly re-enter childhood.

“Many people may yearn for a time when imagination was accepted and encouraged, which may not be the case in adult life.”

The essay concludes: “Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in, something to hope for in the future or to return to a long-lost childhood a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?”

With thanks to University of Exeter