Well, since my last bedtime post, we’ve been working an tweaking the ritual, trying lot so new and different things and also reading a lot on children and sleep issues.
Two things stood out for me in my reading: the first, was the neurologist’s assertion that some brain injured kids don’t need as much sleep as typical children. I’d never considered that. The second thing was an article that said that trouble falling asleep is most-like an issue related to routine.
I went with the easy way out first–I enforced zero bedtime. This resulted in several nights where he was up past eleven. Eventually he would whine or fall asleep on the floor and we’d put him in bed.
Then he’d sleep half the day at school, which was the opposite of what we were going for.
Then, I switched things up and put him in bed at “bed time,” but letting him play with whatever he wanted. This went well, but he was still up til almost eleven–an improvement, but not a great one.
Further research revealed that problems with going to sleep are often a result of not having a good bedtime routine. Sigh. I’m not a fan of routines. I also find that the more pregnant I get, the less I feel like doing anything in the evening.
But we did it anyway. We stuck to a very rigid 9:00 bedtime, which is later than most four-year-olds, but acceptable to me. We follow the exact same routine every evening.
Guess what? It’s working.
He’s falling asleep before 10:30 every night. He takes about a one hour nap at school. He doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night crying.
He’s also in a better mood during the day, participating more in therapy, and just generally seems happier.
It’s not a miracle cure–we’ve had a bad night or two, but it sure beats the night after night of getting up at two and three in the morning, and the hours of screaming before bed.
I’ll continue to keep y’all posted, but MAN is this better than before.
PS: I finished this post last night and OF COURSE we had a rough sleepless night–luckily, we knew what we’d done wrong, which makes the sleepless nights a lot easier.