Whether your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or just has a tendency to be hyper-active before bed, bedtime routines can be a real struggle. Children with ADHD are three times less likely to get enough sleep compared to their friends so trying out these tips and tricks can be an important step in helping them get the help they need!
1. Stick to the same routine. Decide with your child on what their night time schedule will look like including brushing their teeth, reading, and having a bath. Especially for children with ADHD and ASD, predictability and routine can help them feel settled. Allow them to make the plan with you!
2. Set a bedtime alarm. It may sound a little counter-intuitive as most of us are used to waking up to one but setting a quiet and non-intrusive alarm before bed time will help children feel like sleep is associated with the alarm rather than a demand of their parents.
3. Avoid doing over-stimulating activities before bedtime like watching tv or playing video games!
4. Try a weighted blanket For children with ADHD or ASD often struggle with understanding where their bodies are in space due to poor proprioception. A heavy blanket allows them to feel pressure on their joints and muscles throughout the night, which can allow them to feel a sense of self and calmness for their overactive nervous system.
5. White noise! A lot of children have sensitive hearing so using white noise or a fan to block out noise may work for your child. Explore different sounds, maybe even from an app, to see which works best for your child.
6. Everyone’s sleep needs are different and accepting that your child may need more or less sleep than others or what you consider “ normal” is totally okay. Work with your child to see what their normal is because it’s better to have them go to bed an hour later than have them lying in bed, anxious about not being able to get to sleep.