We manage quite easily to make our children understand “neurotypical” that sleep, even if it takes a little time, will happen.
Whether it’s counting sheep, focusing on their breathing or asking for a massage, with support and education, they someday come up with some winning tips for falling asleep.
With our different children, as with the very young child, we must often be imaginative and go through other ways to make them understand things.
Often, as with a baby, it is through the routine and steps repeated daily in the same way that the child with special needs incorporates habits that will help him sleep better all night long.
Having a predictable, repetitive, stable sleep hygiene that respects the biological rhythms, individual needs and age of our children is certainly a winning strategy.
It should also be known that the use of melatonin alone, although it may be indicated for our children, does not work as well if it is not associated with a bedtime ritual and several factors that promote good health — sleep habits.
Routine type of promoting falling asleep
- 5:30 pm: supper
- 6 pm: The screens are turned off and the intensity of the lights can be reduced. Then choose quiet games rather than pursuit games. So, we start sending the message to our children: “We go to bed soon! “
- 6:15 pm: Relaxing bath
- 6:45 pm: History
- 7 pm: In bed! Kiss and “good sleep! “
Give the child a transition object to sleep can help keep one and give in to sleep more easily.
Let’s use the same words in the late-night routine and send the message to our child that he “falls asleep for the night”.
Many children will benefit from using a visual routine to understand better the stages leading to sleep.
An optimal environment for falling asleep
Creating an environment that is conducive to sleep can help children to surrender better after dark. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Clean the room of our child to keep only what is necessary for sleep, so that there is no ambiguity about the use of the room. If the room contains no distractions, the child will not be tempted to get up to do anything but sleep;
Choose a painting with neutral tones and a dark-colored ceiling to create a cozy atmosphere;
Put our child’s bed in the corner to make him feel like he’s wrapped up;
Add body pillows around our child’s bed to give them more comfort and create the “cocoon effect”.
Beware of the risk of choking: do not resort to this advice unless your child has the ability to move properly ;Ideally, make sure no light catches the eye. If using a nightlight is necessary because our child is afraid of the dark, choose a night light bulb with a maximum power of 15 watts and ” blue color, because this color does not interfere with sleep hormones that require darkness to be secreted ” 1
choose opaque curtains to prevent outside lights from entering the room;
Ensure a cold temperature, between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius, and a proper humidity of about 30% to 40%. It is better to use blankets and maintain a cold temperature than to overheat the room.
Use white noise, such as a fan, to cut sounds that might catch our child’s attention;
Some children may be odor-responsive, in which case it may be desirable to use, for example, a fragrance-free detergent.
Regularly exposing the child to daylight can promote sleep. 2
Plan periodically during the day periods of physical activity, according to the abilities of the child. The energy expenditure during the day helps sleep.
Avoid intense physical activity at least three hours before bedtime.