A phrase I’ve heard way too much of lately.
Seriously…I’ve heard it at least once a night on 12 of the last 14 nights from the same child.
Since right before winter break started, Tommy has been having trouble getting to sleep. This is not uncommon in children with ADHD, and we’ve seen it before. And yes, if he takes his medication too late in the day, that will also make it more likely to happen. We also know that Tommy really needs structure and routine, so we’ve kept bedtime the same for the break. Other than going to school, we’ve done everything we can to preserve his normal schedule over break.
I’ve consulted many sources regarding how to help my child sleep. We keep bedtime the same every night. He’s not allowed to have chocolate after dinner. Dessert has to be done a certain amount time before bedtime. We play a CD of ocean waves as white noise to fill the room. Recently, I also read advice that parents not dismiss their child’s sleeping difficulties. (Apparently its common for parents to just tell their kid to be quiet and go to sleep.) I definitely don’t dismiss them. I know that his sleep issues are real. I have them myself. I’ve told him this, and I’ve taught him all of my best relaxation techniques that I use. Muscle relaxation exercises, deep breathing, counting, even getting back up and writing/drawing what’s in his head to get it out. A shower before bedtime doesn’t really seem to calm him. We’ve also tried some of the calming activities that he learned in OT.
Now, I must admit that our bedtime routine isn’t fantastic, but we try. Plus, the routine has been rough for quite some time…not a new development. So, the questions still remain unanswered…what is the trigger that has caused this to happen recently? What the heck am I going to do about it? At this point, he’s lost anywhere from 1-2 hours of sleep every night since school got out. He’s still waking up at pretty much his normal time, so the lack of sleep HAS to be catching up with him.
I really don’t know what else to do to help him. I’m afraid that when he goes back to school next week he’s going to be a complete and total wreck. Sure, maybe going back to school and resuming a completely normal schedule will help set him straight. But, if it doesn’t “fix” his issues, then what?
At this point, I dread bedtime. I know that it is the beginning of a nearly 2 hour time period of me going up and down the stairs every 20 minutes. When he thinks he’s tried “everything” to get to sleep, he climbs out of bed, turns on his light, comes out into the hallway, turns on the hall light and yells down to me…”mommy…I can’t sleep.” I keep telling him that getting out of bed and turning on all the lights is just restarting the whole process, but he just won’t tolerate laying in bed unable to sleep.
I don’t have a magic mommy button, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do to fix this.