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ADHD Parents Together
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Can’t get bedtime routine under 2 hours

My kids share a room, and every night it takes up to 2 hrs to get them to sleep. He’s 11, has ADHD and sensory integration disorder. She’s 5 and just started an IEP in school, delayed and showing signs of sensory integration disorder. I’ve tried everything: humidifier, bedtime story, lavender pillow spray. My son’s therapist suggested a tape recorder and I bought it. He’s supposed to use it to prevent getting out of bed a million times to tell us something he fears he’ll forget. Per the therapist, when it’s not boiling outside, I’d even take them out for an hour or so on their bikes. They’re losing sleep every night. It’s hard to get them up in the morning and I’m losing time I need at night to work on a course I’m taking. Someone please help us.

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I have found the secret to a good night sleep is to get the children to calm down first. Once they are calm. They will fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Try Melatonin a half hour to an hour before bed. Lavender bath soap during bathtime and constant bedtime. Start your bedtime routine at the same time every night.

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Chyna826- I would not suggest Melatonin, unless a doctor is consulted first. It's not really meant for long term use in kids, it's for a short term restart of a clock (if you travel and need to get sleep back on track) and she should consult her child's doctor before starting any medication..

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We’ve used melatonin on my son for a couple of years, with his pediatrician’s blessings (and encouragement). It’s a safe supplement to help their brain wind down. Consult your doctor, but you should be fine.

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We use melatonian on the nights that our daughter takes her ADHD medication. She really does need it to fall asleep.

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I found the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth to be really helpful. It is probably the book I have referred to the most since becoming a parent. When my son was an infant, it once took me 5 hours to get him to bed - so this book really saved us.

Sharing a room does make things tricky - I know when my kids have to share when on vacation / at a grandparents, the sleep just goes down the toilet. But sometimes it's the best you can do.

Here is what works for us:

- A picture schedule of the evening of everything that will happen (even though it happens every night.) We leave about an hour for everything - and no screens or active play 2 hours beforehand.

- I explain to them ahead of time what will happen, at least when we get to the last few items. "Mommy will sing you one song, then I will give you a kiss, then go to my room. You will then close your eyes and go to sleep."

- I do exactly as I said. Though they try to push to add more "one more song" or something (my 6 year old is the master of adding things to the routine), I stay calm & stand firm.

- I leave. If they stay in bed protesting, I let them protest. (If it's the first night doing this, I may peak in @ 10 mins and remind them I am nearby, but it is time for bed. I don't go to them, get them out or add anything else.)

- If they get out of bed, I calmly return them to bed and leave. The first time, I may say "It is time for bed.", but that is it. No eye contact or further talking from me, regardless of what they say / protest.

- The first night or two, it feels like the night of a million walks back to their bed, but after that, they get it. Learning to self sooth is a very important skill.

The only room accommodations are I try to keep the rooms as dark and quiet as possible. They get some stuffed animals. We have a very very dim orange nightlight in each room - it doesn't really shine at all, so it's less likely to disturb their sleep. My 2 years old's is on a timer, so she knows when the light is on, it's time to stay in bed. When it is off, she can get up. My 6 year old has a clock, so he is trained he has to stay in bed until the clock says 7:00a. We also strive to do this at the exact same time every night, and to make sure they wake up at the same time every morning (or close to it.)

Hope any of this is useful to you!

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I think it would be great if you could get out some of that energy in the evening before dinner, even if it were some indoor activities that you look for exercises on the TV for him or what about an evening sports class swimming, Tae Kwan Do or anything that makes him knock out maybe he has to much energy, mine goes right to sleep and he is 11 years old. Just make it cool enough in the room. A shower to cool and clean off.

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He has endless energy. She does too, and they feed off each other. Meanwhile my hubby and I are like zombies lol. I feel like I’ve tried just about everything but I’m the pessimist and my hubby is the optimist. I’m going to show all the responses I got here and we’ll see what works best for us.

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Having ADHD does make it difficult to shut down the brain. Does your child take meds during the day to manage his ADHD? My son take melatonin every night to help shut down his brain. His dr approved of the treatment (1 - 1.5 ml gummy I buy from Walmart) 2 hours before bed, it definitely helps to calm him down and make him ready for bed on time. He takes meds during the day and they make it harder to shut down his brain especially if he needs a late afternoon dose, i would discuss with the dr. If you can get one child down it will make it easier to get the other one down.

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He takes Adderall during the day when he’s in school and Saturday’s for therapy. He was taking Guanfacine to calm down but I stopped it bc it hadn’t had any effect. His psychiatrist just changed it to something else at my request. I will see how that turns out and I’m also looking into natural supplements I learned from someone on this site. Hoping for the best!

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Our ADD/anxious daughter has a hard time falling asleep - her diagnosis really helped explain why we could never get any of the sleep training methods to work for us. We have a set bedtime schedule which is actually printed out and taped to the wall. We have bath (use calming bath salts and candles) followed by stories, snuggles and then lights out. The kids are allowed to read with flashlights until they fall asleep because I honestly just stopped trying to enforce making my daughter fall asleep and decided to focus on the routine instead. She has aromatherapy spray, calming night lights and spa music on an ipad (placed where she can’t see the light from the screen). Do they have to fall asleep in the same room? Maybe you could have your older kid do bedtime in the shared room and the younger (lighter) kid could fall asleep in your room and then you could carry her into bed? We also went through a long phase where we watched cooking videos on YouTube as part of the bedtime routine. This is kind of lame, but at least gets everyone into bed, lying down and quiet. That all being said, my daughter was up an additional hour last night because she was “afraid of something but she didn’t know what” and my husband had to go in and lie with her until she fell asleep. I have insomnia myself and fixing sleep is actually really hard - if you have a class you need to be working on at night, maybe you need a solution to that part of the problem that doesn’t require you to solve your kids’ sleep issues first. Could you have them watch TV as part of the bedtime routine? They could earn TV time by taking baths, brushing teeth and getting into PJs and then they could watch a show (or better yet shows, separately) while you do an hour of homework and then you could put them to bed without the stress of the class hanging over you ... Or maybe you could go to sleep early yourself and then wake up an hour early? I have this problem myself, where I need to work at night and can’t get my kids to go to sleep. And while I haven’t figured out 100% how to get the kids to go to sleep, the one thing I have learned is that anything I can do to take my own stress out of the picture helps. Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice. Everyone here is so helpful. I’d like to try getting up earlier in the morning for my course. It sounds like a viable option, you mentioned my daughter falling asleep in my room first. I’m willing to give anything a try at this point.

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My grandson also takes melatonin every night approved by both his psychiatrist and his pediatrician.

Luckily my grandkids have never had to sleep in the same room. They would be up all night stimulating each other. I know you don't have any other choice.

Can you stagger their bed times? Get the little one to sleep first and then put the other one to sleep after.

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I’ve tried that but they look for each other. I’m so exhausted from this, I’m looking into natural supplements for my son.

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