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Epi #117. Transforming Bedtime Chaos Into Peaceful Nights: A Parent’s Journey with Neurodivergent kids

cyclebreakers gentle parenting marcela collier parenting-with-understanding podcast shownotes spotlight Jun 18, 2024
HIC Parenting Education
Epi #117. Transforming Bedtime Chaos Into Peaceful Nights: A Parent’s Journey with Neurodivergent kids

Transforming Bedtime Chaos Into Peaceful Nights: A Parent’s Journey with Neurodivergent kids

Imagine this: It’s bedtime, and instead of the usual chaos, your children are asleep within 20 minutes. 

Sounds like a dream, right? 

A few years ago, I would have thought the same. 

Yet, after much learning and perseverance, I've turned this dream into a reality for my special needs son. 

In this article, I’m thrilled to share the transformative steps that helped us achieve peaceful evenings.

  1. Uncovering the Root of Bedtime Struggles

The journey began with a stark realization during one tumultuous night: my standard approach wasn’t cutting it. 

Despite following every piece of advice—from dimming lights to reducing screen time before bed—nothing seemed to work. 

It hit me during a conversation with our sleep coach from HIC Parenting that I was missing a crucial piece: addressing my children’s unique sensory needs.

I thought I had the bedtime routine down, optimized for tranquility. 

However, my son, who has heightened sensory needs, required more than just a dark, quiet room.

This revelation came when our sleep coach asked a pivotal question: “What does your child really need?”

It was then I realized that my efforts, while well-intentioned, weren't tailored to the specific demands of my son’s needs.

  1. Teaching Self-Soothing Techniques

Recognizing the specific needs led to the second step: empowering my twins to manage their own sensory demands, especially during nighttime awakenings. 

For my son, a weighted blanket provided comfort during storytime, helping him transition to sleep. 

But since it wasn't safe for all-night use, we had to find other solutions for any mid-night awakenings.

Innovative Nighttime Strategies:

I taught my son to give himself a tight hug or squeeze a pillow when he felt restless at night. 

This technique didn’t just help him; it empowered him. 

It was a game-changer. He began to feel capable of handling his sensory needs without my intervention, leading to more consistent sleep through the night.

  1. Customizing Our Bedtime Routine

The final breakthrough came when I decided to throw the 'perfect' Pinterest bedtime routine out the window and create one that catered specifically to our needs. 

For my sensory-seeking son, releasing pent-up energy was crucial. Thus, our pre-bed routine involved some active play, like jumping on a trampoline, which might sound counterintuitive but was exactly what he needed to wind down.

Tailoring to Individual Needs:

Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. For us, the key was recognizing that the typical quiet, subdued bedtime routine was not suitable. 

My children needed to engage in vigorous activity before they could relax. 

Recognizing and embracing this need was critical in transforming our bedtime experience.

Empowering Other Parents

This personal journey led me to develop a workshop for parents facing similar struggles. 

The “Transforming Your Bedtime from Chaos to Calm” workshop, scheduled for June 25th, 2024, is designed to help parents identify the unique needs of their children, teach them self-soothing techniques, and craft a bedtime routine that actually works.

Join us to gain the tools and confidence to create peaceful nights in your own home. 

Remember, successful parenting is not about adhering to a universal standard; it’s about understanding and meeting the specific needs of your children. 

Let’s make bedtime a dream come true, together.

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