Another night, another hopeful parent, “Please just go to sleep”.
Bedtime can often be a difficult time for both parents and children with an FASD. While not all bedtime strategies work for all individuals, if you do have children with sleep difficulties why not try:
- To help a child transition from alert and wakeful state to a calm and restful state, try applying calming practices, such as a back rub or some gentle squeezing of the feet, legs, hands and arms.
- An auditory sensitive child may need total quiet to fall asleep. If this is not possible, try some alternative white noise. A fan, the dryer or an aquarium with a pump just may do the trick!
- Give older children a light snack before bed. Oral input is often calming in nature. Find out what kind of snacks help settle versus ones that are alerting. Oral inputs that are spicy, sour, cold, and chewy tend to be more alerting.
- For the child who needs time to settle or wakes up during the night, have a basket or list of acceptable things they can do in their bedroom. You could provide an oil-and-water toy to watch, stuffed animal or picture book.
- Think of activities between dinner and bedtime as a time for your child to begin winding down. Avoid activities that are exciting and alerting, such as rough play.
- Remember that deep pressure touch is calming. Have blankets and pillow on your couch available for them to tightly wrap up in and snuggle.
- Avoid “electronic caffeine” a couple hours before bed. Video games, TV and computers affect the ability to go to sleep!
- Use a visual schedule to help your child learn the pre-bedtime routine!
Healthy Child Manitoba: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know About FASD.