Bedtime for Children with Autism

Bedtime for Children with Autism

Bedtime can be quite daunting. Most children respond very well with a consistent bedtime approach that gradually directs more of the responsibility to the child.  We sometimes need to refine the bedtime strategies for children with differing sensory needs, autism or ADHD.  Check out our Bedtime Kit and read on for ideas to create the perfect routine for your child so that everyone has a great night’s sleep.

Time Timer Plus (click picture for more options)

 

Watch the Time. A consistent schedule is critical.  To get started, you can reward a great bedtime commitment with stickers or incentives. Eventually it needs military-like discipline to ensure healthy habits for everyone. If timing is a problem, try using a visual timer to help your child ‘see’ the remaining time before bed.  Visual and auditory timers can be selected depending on your child’s learning style and sensory needs.

Turn off the Screen. At least an hour before bed, power off the television, iPad, iPhone, computer and any other electronic device. It can be hard for the brain to transition from electronic stimulation to rest. In addition, check out your child’s room. If there are a lot of wires and glowing lights from plugged in devices, try and move these to a different location in the house.  In contrast, LED lighting in the bedroom can be useful to calm the nervous system and transition the body to darkness.

LimeLite LED Chair, Ball, Stool (Cube and Spool not shown)

Bean Bag Chair in Small or Large

Read before Bed.  Replace the screen time with reading time! Snuggle with a book on a beanbag chair or soothing swing, or read in bed. Whereas screens are stimulating and yet draining to the brain, reading is an active brain activity that is calming. In addition, eye tracking can be very soothing and a great precursor to bedtime.

Space Explorers in solid colors or animal prints

Scented Putty with lemon, lavender or peppermint
Weigh Down. Some children need an extra dose of sensory input before bedtime. Engage in a heavy work activity or an activity with pressure such as using resistance items. A great game of wrestling can even do the trick. Once in bed, using a weighted blanket or snuggle sheet can help the muscles feel grounded and relaxed.
Cool, Dark and Noisy? That’s right! Making sure the room is cool, as dark as possible, and filled with white noise to encourage great sleep patterns. Consider adding in soothing aromatherapy with a diffuser that can pump out lavender to calm and relax. Don’t have a diffuser? Some heavy handwork infused with lavender can be beneficial as well.

 

As you wish your kids sweet dreams, you’ll discover that being vigilant about their bedtime routine helps everyone – including you – get some great zzzzzzzs!

 

* Download Guidelines for Safe Use. Use weighted products with guidance from a therapist, and provide adult supervision. Never place in crib with infant; do not use with small children. Never cover face nor restrict child’s movement.

1 year ago by 0

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