Tips for how to Get a Child with ADHD to Bed
As every parent knows, getting kids to embrace healthy sleeping habits can often be an uphill battle. According to the latest research, a correlation has been found between sleep quality and a child’s performance in math and languages. “During sleep, the neurons of your brain are working—they are making connections and processing the lessons you have encountered during the course of the day,” explains Dr. Norma Moussally, mental health counselor at the Lebanese American University.
While most require a certain degree of coaxing during bedtime, the process can be even more challenging for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD. Any learning difficulties these children have will be significantly compounded by sleep deprivation.
Here are some tips to help get your children to bed:
1.Keep It Consistent
It’s very common for parents to allow their kids (and themselves) to sleep in during the weekends. In fact, this does more to hinder a child’s sleep patterns than it does to help them. By sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, there is a greater likelihood your child will develop a consistent bedtime rhythm.
Blue-light sources like laptops, television and smart phones send activating signals to the brain that interfere with your body’s natural sleep signals. Rule of thumb: turn off all devices two hours before your child’s scheduled bedtime.
3.Make It a Ritual
Having a bedtime ritual will encourage your child to wind down. Whether it is taking a warm bath or reading a book, keep the routine consistent every evening. We are all creatures of habit, and this can be a soothing way to end a busy day.
4.Avoid Exercise in the Late Afternoon and Evening
Physical activity revs up the metabolism and results in stimulating children rather than making them sleepier. Exercise is a great energy releaser, but it is preferable to schedule such activities earlier in the day.
5.Use a Reward System
Parents can use stickers and a Sleep Reward Chart (you can find some online) to reinforce the importance of good bedtime behavior. According to behavior modification theory, the trick is to focus on rewarding one behavior at a time. Whether it is getting into bed at a certain hour or staying in bed for the entire night, pick one bedtime behavior that your child is struggling with and reward him or her when she makes progress.