For most families on the spectrum, bedtime can be a nightmare. Children running around in the house avoiding to go to sleep, and then the epic battle to get them to stay in bed.
When it comes to autistic children, especially toddlers, the battle can be worst. ASD children face way more challenges than normal children to fall asleep and then to stay asleep due to sensory sensitivity issues. However, it is possible to get your child to sleep alone and establish a healthy bedtime routine with the help of our tips.
Teaching Your Child To Sleep Alone
The following steps will help you teach your child to sleep alone in no time:
1.- Consistent Bedtime Routine: Having an established bedtime routine is key to ensuring your child’s permanency in bed. Try printing some visuals of the steps he/she is supposed to follow each night. For example:
1.- Taking a Bath
2.- Wearing Pyjamas
Additionally, try to stick to the same schedule time each day to avoid your child from being too active or too awake.
2.- Use a Motivator: Talk to your child about his/her routine, and inform them what is happening next. Then use a motivator to get him/her attached, for example, if your girl loves Princess Sofia, tell her that princesses go to bed early and by themselves because they are really brave. This is just an example but the point is to find what your child likes and make it relatable to that moment.
3.- Allow a Toy: Allowing your child to take his/her favorite toy to bed, can be a great tool to distract them from becoming upset or anxious. Inform them that if they are calm, they will get the chance to play with their toy until they are ready to sleep.
Tip*: You can take his/her favorite teddy and transform it into a perfect therapeutic toy. Visit our blog post and find out all about it.
4.- Promise to Come Back: Kiss your child goodnight, drop a couple of on the bed, and let him/her know that if they are quiet and calm you will return and read another story. If your child complains and gets clingy, remind them that superheroes/princesses (or whatever character they like) are brave and sleep by themselves.
Children really want you to stay with them so they will try to do what is needed for you to come back.
5.- Return: After 10-15 minutes go back to your child’s room and listen before you enter. If your child is calm you can get in and read him/her another story, then promise that you will return again if they remain peaceful.
In most cases, next time when you return they will be asleep, but if not keep your word and read them the story you promised.
The point of this is building trust and a reward sensation. They will learn that you will actually go back each time if they remain calm, and they will feel rewarded by the story they earned.
Keep in mind that all children are different and that this process might take a few days to be built, however, it is possible to get your child to sleep by himself/herself. After the routine is established this process will be shorter. Don’t forget; You got this!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!