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Morning mess

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I'm new to this channel. I have an 8 year old son with extreme ADHD ( emphasis on the hyperactivity) and the mornings are a nightmare. He used to watch his phone in the morning when he woke up but we recently took it away because we felt it was too much screen time. Now he wakes up at 4am and makes loud noises and runs all around the house and I’m kind of losing my mind. Any suggestions or anyone have similar experiences?

12 Replies

We haven't had the early rising issue, which sounds super hard, but we have had the issue with excessive noise in the mornings. I know part of that is just ADHD, but it's so hard on everyone in the house. We finally told him if you want to sing, dance, and be wild -- you need to do it in your bedroom. That's fair game; the family room where we're all congregating is not. His therapist was OK with this approach. (He's also a few years older than your son, so YMMV.)

For the early rising, have you tried one of those "time to wake" alarms, which has a light that indicates when it's OK to get up? For us, red/yellow = stay in your room and do a quiet activity/play if you wake up early. Green = okay to come out, have breakfast, etc. It has worked well for both our ADHD kiddo and our neurotypical kiddo.

Would a melatonin gummy at bedtime help him sleep longer?

I'm sorry, this sounds super hard.

Thanks so much for the reply. We are going to try one of those clocks. Unfortunately he sleeps in the same room with his sister right now so I dont want him being so loud in the room early in the morning. We made him a giant fort in another room hoping that would help but he only stays in there for a few minutes. We have been using the melatonin at night bc the medication he’s on (Concerta) doesn’t make it super easy for him to fall asleep. Hopefully this is just a phase but its been so hard so I really appreciate the support!

We have a similar issue with our 7 year old. It has taken a loooong time for the “ok to wake” clock to have any effect, but it does seem to help now with at least reminding him to stay in his room for a while in the morning. We found the best thing that has helped us so far is activities that he is interested in (he’s really into puzzles, legos, and coloring) so we reserve some of those special items that are quieter play for mornings only. At first he woke up early because he was excited to play with them, but eventually he settled into a routine of sleeping til a decent hour (5 or 6?) and then plays relatively quietly with them. We also tried a sound machine to help him fall asleep. (Or to help your daughter block out some of the noise?) He has to begin bedtime about an hour earlier than our other son, and while he doesn’t have to go to sleep early, he has to spend this time “unwinding” by doing calm activities like reading or listening to music. We have also tried sleep hypnosis recordings like the Moshi app or breathing exercises to help him learn to relax for bed. They don’t always work like a charm, but I hope eventually he will develop these skills to help him when his brain just won’t shut off.

Hang in there and keep trying til you find what works for your kiddo! It’s hard!

Our son also LOVED Rubicon cubes at this age and there are million to invest in. Just a hint.

Guanfecine at bedtime really does a great job of evening our son out who is the same age. We had been on in a while and I thought it didn’t do anything until I stopped it for a few weeks and saw with a great job it did do when the stimulant wasn’t on board.

We also use this medication, ours is a 24 hour dose to help him sleep and even his moods. Thanks for sharing

We use an adder 2mg of Guanfacine to help smooth over mornings and evenings. It's made a world of difference

I'm not a morning person and I'm probably in the minority with this, but for the short term I'd reconsider letting him have screen time in the mornings and limit his time in the evenings. That is assuming he isn't visiting websites or something he shouldn't. Then I'd look at ways to help him sleep longer. What time does he go to bed? Would he sleep later if you pushed his bedtime by an hour?

We get him in bed around 7:30pm and then I read to him for 20 /30 minutes. I've found in the past that even when he goes to sleep later that he still wakes up early. But he slept till 5:06 this morning. ( I only know the exact time bc he was very proud of himself). We will continue to curb his phone time in the morning but maybe if it still remains a problem I can get him a tablet that only has educational games. That might be an interesting solution. Thank you again for your response. Its been so nice to wake up to a community of parents that are going through similar challenges with their children :)

Our son is soon to be 7 and we had similar issue of him waking up around 5am with loud behavior. I know how draining that is on everyone! We used to use melatonin as well and while it helped him fall asleep it never really kept him asleep. We added on guanfacine and that helped a lot for helping him fall asleep more calmly along with many other benefits. He takes it in the morning and late afternoon. He now sleeps through the night on his own and usually sleeps until 6:30 or 7am. He doesnt get his stimulant until 7am so it can be a rough ride until that kicks in. I personally have tried both not giving the i pad for a few weeks in the morning and then letting him watch cartoons on it in the morning and for us it goes smoother when he has that 30 minutes to an hour with it. I say whatever makes that time go by smoother for him and the family is okay!

My son is the exact opposite. I can't get him to move in the mornings. I do see some great advice on here. Hugs

My son is almost 10, and we have had similar problems. Now that he is a little older and enjoys reading more, sometimes he will do that when he isn’t sleepy at night, or when he wakes up early.

One idea that wasn’t mentioned is physical exercise. We have a babysitter who is so good about taking them on long walks, bike rides, setting up play dates with prolonged games of tag and etc. She also does “just dance” with them on Nintendo switch. I’m so grateful to her! There might be older kids around who would like to get paid for an hour to exercise with your son?

Another thing that has worked for us is a strict rule, no screens before school, ever, no exceptions. On weekends, it’s no screens b4 7.30. These have been our rules for several years now and both of our boys have completely accepted it, so there are no arguments (on that topic at least). It takes away at least one incentive to get up too early.

Good luck!! Hugs!

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