Could use some imput please. A mom of a kid (3y, non verbal) coming to my playdates is really challenged to put her boy to sleep. It takes about 2 hours each night. Dad doesn't have the patience so it si mom 7 nights a week. He is restless, moves around, kicks, hits mom when she tries to hold him. He sleeps in the parents bed, they gave up his own bed for now.
They already tried these things:
A calm routine, same every night
a calming light that projects on the ceiling (climbed the closet and got the device and inspected how it works)
deep pressure from hugs with mom
Any ideas how to help them, would be really helpful,
Hi Carola, I'm Catherine and I'm new to the forum, so, Hello! I don't know what your views are or what HB views are on using natural methods like herbs and essential oils. So, I apologize ahead of time if I'm out of the boundaries.
--Perhaps look into 'melatonin' supplements. (melatonin being the sleep hormone produced by the brain) There are some specifically for children and others for adults. Several studies show that it's safe. You'd just have to decide on which brand is most natural and without stress triggering fillers.
--Valerian is a traditional herbal remedy used by many in pill form and tea.
--Chamomile is a traditional herbal remedy used by many in tea.
(Celestial Seasonings makes a tea called "Sleepytime")
--L-Tryptophan is also useful in encouraging sleep. Seeds, nuts and turkey meat has a high amount. Dairy products also have it, but they may be off the child's diet. Maybe the child can have a bedtime snack of natural peanut butter or almond butter on toast.
--Essential oils like lavender and chamomile can be used in a diffuser in the bedroom.
--These same essential oils can be added to a massage oil and rubbed onto the body. I specifically like Magnesium oil because magnesium is good for soothing nerves.
--These items can be costly. If the family finds something that works, look into wholesale companies that sell in bulk. The company I use is Frontier. If you have a business tax id number, then you can set up a business account and get these products at a low cost. For example, essential oils can be purchase for less than $8 wholesale compared to much higher retail prices.
I hope things get better for your client family.
My son (6) varies with his sleep everyday, and it got so much easier when i accepted that children, Autistic or not are not automatically programmed to sleep soundly from 7pm until 7am.
I am responsible for everything for my son and naturally that includes his night time routine, my partner is not his father and in the beginning of our relationship i put huge pressure on myself to get Rowan-Fox to sleep early and 'out the way' for adult time. Just the pressure I was putting myself under alone made him anxious, because i was anxious and snappy and rushing he was mirroring my emotions and hence took longer for him to fall asleep.
my advice is drop the routine, drop the pressure. make sure he is physically stimulated throughout the day, he has eaten and drank enough of the right things. bring the energy of activities and communication down towards the end of the day, have bath time (not shower), we then chose a relaxing activity: a story, a massage whilst listening to relaxing music, cuddles, a gentle sing along, a talk about something nice - whatever he is feeling that day (massaging his feet works absolute wonders with mine) - all of this can be done with a non verbal child, use flashcards.
The key for me was to stop caring what everyone else thought and taking the pressure off myself. just making sure RF felt secure, safe and was actually tired was important. this sometimes resulted in us going for a run on the beach at 7pm but eventually bed time became nice, there was no anxiety for him because he trusted that i wasn't going to put him in a bed, shut the door and leave him alone in the dark.
Foxsmum, that's great advice. You are so right that the pressure we put on ourselves as adults/parents can cause anxiety in our children. You are also right that we all need to let go of what others think of us and do what is right for our own family.
I felt that way about homeschooling. I felt pressure to teach my children the way every other parent was teaching. It just didn't work for us. I let it go and embraced the things my children were interested in and they flourished.
As for sleep strategies, I agree with what you said about having eaten, slowed down on activities, taking a soothing bath and having a relaxing activity. I find that even for myself, I need a good hour or so of preparing my mind to rest before I can fall asleep.