Sleep is very tender topic at our house. We often struggle to get everyone in bed and then to sleep the night. It seems to change as they get older, and you never know what will happen with the changes. I’ve called these changes a lot like the changes of the seasons.
We are headed into fall here in New England. You can see the changes all around. The leaves are starting to change, and it also means a change in time schedule and the sleep needed for school time. It is a time of change. And sleep changes a lot with it.
It is always interesting to watch how a leave will change colors. It might start off small, and the color slowly spreads over the leaf. It is amazing to watch, and you can see the changes. Then three are leaves to change very rapid and the bright color only lasts for a small time before falling off the tree.
Sleep is a lot like those leaves. Sometimes you can see the changes slowly happen and other times you see it changing too fast.
As a special needs parent I’m always looking at the changes, we have in the house. Sleep is so important to everyone that it should be a focus that everyone works on. We often don’t look at how important it is for the parents because sometimes we don’t get as much as we need.
Keep the Same Bedtime Routine
It took me a long time to realized that bedtime had to always “be the same.” Changes in routine just made for bad sleep. Once we found our routine, it was hard to always keep it. If bedtime starts at eight, it always starts at 8. We don’t change it up to allow special days because it just makes things worse for the next day. Once you have a routine, keep it.
The hard part comes when you have to do everything every night for me as a parent. There are a few times I want just to skip a part and not deal with it. It is a lot like having the leaves falling outside. If I leave them alone and don’t rake them up, it gets worse as times goes by. It is the same with our bedtime routine. Any changes just make problems pile up.
We also realize that what works for one child might not work for them all. Some of my girls have different routines at bedtime, and I try and remember that not all my girls have the same needs. We also need to remember like the changing seasons, sleep will change as kids get older.
Plan a “Calm Down Time” Before the Bedtime Routine
We have a period before bedtime we call a “calm down time.” We have set activities they can do during that time. They have a list of activities they can do during that period. It helps keep them and me calm. We don’t do electronics during this time. I will do reading on my tablet, but that is all the electronics allowed. That means my husband, and I won’t watch TV as well while they do these activities.
They can do one activity or several during that time. But they must do at least one. It helps us have that calmer mind as we head off to bed.
Some of these activities are:
– Reading in a special book or series of books they like.
– Coloring in their coloring books.
– Play in a sensory bin. (Yes even my almost 11-year-old plays in a sensory bin)
– Playing with playdough or theraputty.
– Make a Rock Zen Garden.
– Do some deep impact gross motor in slow motion.
– Meditate on the floor – They take several deeps breaths while sitting in place.
Clean Room Makes for Better Sleeping
One of the biggest things I have learned is that “a clean room is a calmer room.” It is important that kids work towards having that clean room to help them sleep better. My girls had a room that looked like someone had put a huge blast of wind, and everything was scattered around the room like leaves. My girls fought and argued and complained non-stop about bedtime. It made them grumpy and me too. It was hard to keep our routine when the room was a mess.
Once my girls clean up and declutter their room, they are much happier girls! I’m a much happier mom! It does affect their sleep. They will sleep better and wake up happier when the room is clean.
Sleep is important for Mom and Dad Too!
I’ve been a total failure for this. I wake up stressed over lots of things and don’t get the sleep that I need. Or I stay up too late and get up too early to get something done. I know that I need to sleep, but I don’t always think of my needs.
As parents, we need good sleep, but we don’t always get it. I say get sleep where you can. We can’t always get it but we can try and make our sleep the best we can.
Here are some questions to think about:
– What is my bedtime routine?
– What do I need to get better sleep?
– Is my room uncluttered to help me sleep better?
– Am I taking some time to unwind before bedtime?
– What simple change can I do to make my sleep better?
– Am I avoid stressful topic right before bed?
Sleep is always going to change as your kids change. Remember that you must change too but keep working on what sleep is best overall. Find your sleep when you can.
This is the fourth post with 11 other bloggers. You can read everyone’s posts about sleep. There are so many different ways needs when it comes to sleep with special needs parents.
- When Nightmares Become Reality by Every Star is Different
- When Parent Sleep Deprivation Becomes Deadly by STEAM Powered Family
- Sleep Solutions for Special Needs Parents by My Home Truths
- The Sleep-Deprived Mom’s Guide to Survival by Life Over C’s
- Sleep Solutions for Children with Sensory Needs by The Chaos and The Clutter
- Sleep Strategies for Kids with Autism or Sensory Needs by And Next Comes L
- The One Overwhelming Thing that Keeps Me Up at Night by Kori at Home
- 6 Steps to a Calm Bedtime Routine for Your Highly Sensitive Child by Carrots Are Orange
- Surviving Night Terrors by Grace and Green Pastures
- To The Exhausted Mom That Never Gets A Good Night Sleep by Natural Beach Living
Here is a look at all the themes for the 12 months:
Check out my posts in this series:
- Ripples on a Pond: Warning Signs of Early Childhood Development Problems
- Navigating The Stream: The Trails of Daily Routine
- Finding Support: From The Wind in Your Life
Cassie – 3Dinosaurs.com