Today’s topic is bedtime routines for children whose sleep problems may be grounded in sensory integration dysfunction. Bedtime and routines are a big deal with my son. A trigger such as lack of sleep or stepping out of routine causes him to become hyperactive.
Setting a bedtime routine for a child with sensory needs is challenging. We know that a sensitive child faces a hard transition when moving from activities to bedtime. As parents, we need to follow through with various sensory integration tools to help our children settle down at night and relax into sleep.
The bedtime routine that I practice with my child is as follows:
- I create a set routine for bedtime. I provide my child with plenty of transition time that follows the same pattern every night.
- My son and I create nighttime rules and a schedule together. I post the bedtime routine checklist in a common area where my child has access to it.
- Once I have set the bedtime, I let my child chooses which pajamas to wear and which stuffed animals to sleep with. This ritual bedtime interaction makes my son feel that he has power in the decision-making process.
- I always remind myself to understand my child’s needs, so I observe him before jumping into what I think he needs to get to sleep.
- I constantly offer time cues throughout the evening to remind my son that he has 5 minutes for brushing his teeth, 20 minutes to read and 30 minutes for yoga exercises. We try to do these activities together in a playful way.
- I give my child a tapping massage to help him settle down at night and be able to relax into sleep.
I hope you find this post useful! Let me know how it works for you!