One of the problem that many parents of ADHD kids face is getting their kids settled and off to sleep at night. Often the hyperactivity and impulsiveness that comes with ADHD creates sleep problems too. Staying asleep all through the night is rare, and the idea of an unbroken night’s sleep for parents is a thing of dreams!
This lack of sleep can also lead to other issues and your child’s activities may be affected – especially their academic performance in school. Having ADHD means being attentive during school activities is already a problem and the lack of sleep will add insult to injury and can worsen the situation.
One way to overcome the issues caused by sleep problems is to set a regular sleep schedule for your child. Remember that when it comes to managing ADHD, routine is the key!
Make sure your child goes to bed at exactly the same time every night and wakes up at a specific time as well. Establishing a routine will make your child’s daily schedule much easier to manage, especially during weekdays when they need to wake up early for school.
Keep the room a place of quiet can calm. Yes, kids love to be allowed to go to sleep with the TV on – and it can often seem like the easy option for Mum too – but it acts as a stimulant and will your child’s mind active. Avoid giving your child food – especially sweets – less than an hour before bedtime because that will also keep him awake. And of course, sweets and sugary snacks can make any child hyper so should be avoided.
Another tip is to provide a relaxing environment for your child to sleep in. Use blackout curtains and consider having soft music or a gentle story playing in the background. Many people find using essential oils in a room humidifier can help with relaxation. Having a very different atmosphere at bedtime will help your child to understand that once you start the ritual, it’s time to go to sleep. Giving your child cues like dimming the lights or turning on a story CD can be very effective.
Creating a bedtime routine for your child – and sticking to it every day, at the same time – can make a huge difference to sleep problems. Your routine might look like this:
7pm: Bathtime. Cleaning teeth, getting into pyjamas/nightie.
7.30pm: Read a bedtime story, talk about the day, other relaxing activity in the child’s bedroom.
8pm: Lights out. Dim the lights, turn on night light, start music – whatever you want to do to create a comfortable sleep environment.This is the cue for your child that it’s bedtime and they need to sleep.
By setting a sleeping schedule for your child to follow, you’ll begin to overcome sleep problems and counter the effects of lack of sleep in ADHD kids.