Bedtime routine certainly is a relatable struggle for all parents. Below are some helpful tips for a good night’s sleep for both you and your child on the spectrum.

1. Establish a nighttime routine

This is the first step toward a peaceful night’s sleep! Having a nighttime routine signals to your child that it is time to go to sleep and the routine itself can help induce sleep.

The routine should be calming and additionally can serve as quality bonding time for you and your child.

A typical nighttime routine can start with bath time, putting on pajamas and brushing your child’s teeth.

If your child has a sensory aversion to tooth brushing, do this before your routine as our goal is for our routine to be as calm and peaceful as possible.

Read your child a quiet story and put on peaceful music.

Visual nighttime routine schedules are helpful for children who are visual learners.

2. Select a Proper Bedtime

This may take a while. It is important that your child is tired to reduce his resistance to bedtime.

We recommend starting by setting an initial bedtime as late in the evening as possible. This helps your child go to bed more willingly. Gradually, push the bedtime up to the desired time.

Reducing or eliminating naptime serves as a helpful strategy to assist your child in becoming tired.

We also advise avoiding late wakeups.

Don’t lose sight of the goal to help your child get the necessary amount of hours of sleep on the desired schedule.

3. Developing a sleep object

If your child wakes up in the middle of the night and has a hard time self-soothing and falling back asleep, a sleep object may be a helpful strategy to help calm your child down.

Associate this object with sleep. Sleep objects can include a teddy bear, blanket, bottle, or favorite pillow.

Once your child learns how to fall asleep during the night, after that we can fade out the sleep object.

4. Staying in Bed

Each child is unique and your BCBA will develop a personalized behavior plan to fit the needs of your child.

We recommend having the parent stay in your child’s room until he/she falls asleep. Get a comfortable chair to sit in and listen to music through headphones to help make this procedure easier for you. Once your child is sleeping in bed, you will fade your position and amount of time staying near your child.

Remember this takes time!

Changing sleep patterns is not easy but the results are rewarding.

When you and your child wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep you will know the hard work was worth it!

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