Children get revved up during the festive season, and calming them down for bed can be hard work.

The Children's Clinic at Dolphin House specialises in improving the well-being of children and suggests a range of natural ways to help exhausted parents get their young ones to relax, calm down and sleep.

Try to keep to your normal routine.

If children stay up late or eat meals at different times, it will be much more difficult to get them to bed.

If you are out for a Christmas treat, plan some calm time for when you return. A warm bath and a hot, milky drink can do wonders.

Physical exercise always helps a good night's sleep. If they've spent the day in front of the television or computer screen, it's probably going to mean they are not only overstimulated but under exercised too.

Try to ensure a trip to thepark or a walk every day. It will be good for working off the mince pies too.

Don't let them drink cola after lunchtime. Cola is full of caffeine. Just as a cup of coffee drunk after midday leaves enough caffeine in our system by bed time to keep us awake, so does cola.

If they do have caffeine in their system in the evening, Pema Sanders, homoeopath at the Children's Clinic, recommends the remedy coffea.

Give one or two pills in the 6th-potency an hour and half an hour before bed.

New Era sells a specifitissue salt for nervous excitement which Pema also finds works well.

Sugar is another stimulant so it is best to avoid sugary treats around supper time.

Sugar is a refined carbohydrate which gives a short energy burst followed by a sharp drop. As it affects their blood sugar levels, it gets children overexcited and hyperactive one minute and moody and troublesome the next.

Aromatherapy oils can be very soothing. A few drops of lavender or chamomile in the bath or on to a tissue placed on the pillow, can help calm them down when nerves are fraught.

Chamomile is soothing in herbal form, too, so try to give them a cup of chamomile tea before bed.

The Bach flower remedy White Chestnut is indicated for insomnia so if you find your children are regularly failing to get to sleep or waking during the night, put a few drops in a glass of water for them to sip through the day.

Avena sativa drops fromWeleda are a natural herbal formula to aid relaxation. It contains oats, hops, passion flower and valerian.

For teenagers, give ten to 20 drops in water half an hour before bed.

For children younger than 12, it is only recommended under medical supervision when all else fails.

If you find sleeplessness or hyperactivity is a way of life in your household, pop into the Children's Clinic to see how we could help ensure you all get enough rest.

By Emma Amyatt-Leir.