If you’re a parent of a child with ADHD, you know the dreaded word: Bedtime.
Kids with ADHD often have sleep problems. Getting to sleep or staying asleep can be challenges. Some struggle with one, some find both to be difficult. When our kids were younger, bedtime was a 2-hour mind-boggling
nightmare process that left all of us sleep-deprived and frustrated. Back then, I would put our youngest to bed only to hear him talking to himself in his room 90 MINUTES LATER, or singing as he tossed and turned waiting on his brain to wind down. He would yell from his room the various thoughts that were darting through his mind.
Mom, did you pack my lunch?
Are you picking me up or am I riding the bus?
Can Dad make pancakes in the morning?
You could hear the wheels turning in his head. Sleep seemed to be the furthest thing from happening. If your kids also struggle with sleep issues, here are 4 (minor) tweaks you can do to see progress. After all, a good night’s sleep affects a child’s reactions and emotions the following day. Good luck!
TURN OFF ELECTRONICS
Outside stimulation only keeps the brain wired. Video games, cellphones, televisions, etc should all be turned off an hour before bedtime so kids can unplug mentally as well. Try having children listen to music instead, for a calming effect.
Our kids don’t hit the sack without turning on a fan to drown out background noise in the home. (They rely on fans so much that they travel with one on vacation!) Anything to help lull their brains. Noise machines work as well.
We do our own version of weighted blankets, as in several heavy layers. Weighted blankets create a sense of calm for kids whose brains are anything but, offering a safe, secure feeling to help them drift off to sleep.
This is a personal preference, of course. Melatonin is a natural-occurring hormone in the body, and it is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. (Recent research shows that children with ADHD do not have adequate melatonin production.) It can be purchased over the counter, and our doctor suggested the smallest dose 30 minutes before bedtime. (NOTE: I recommend getting approval from your pediatrician.)