Monitor your child’s sleep schedule and routines. If your child often appears tired during the day or has a hard time settling into sleep at night, keep track of patterns of getting to sleep, sleeping, and awakening.
Encourage physical activity after school. Kids who don’t get enough exercise often have more difficulty getting to sleep at night.
Start a bedtime routine. Begin the process early in the evening. Establishing a bedtime routine can take a while, but it’s important in creating a healthy sleep cycle.
Be consistent. Try to make a bedtime routine that follows the same order every night. For example, bath or shower, pajamas, picking out clothes and packing the backpack for the morning, and then reading before bed.
Reduce stimulating activities before bedtime. This is especially true of screen time, which should be limited at night. Set limits on how late your child is allowed to text or use a computer. Encourage calming activities like reading and listening to music, and try to keep the house quiet as bedtime approaches.
Avoid caffeine in the evening. That includes foods that contain caffeine, such as chocolate.
Consider white noise or noise machines. Some kids find that it helps them tune out other sounds in the house or neighborhood.
Help your child plan and prioritize homework tasks. The most important tasks should get done first. Help with
organizational strategies, like breaking big assignments into smaller pieces. This can help kids stay on top of work and complete it before bedtime.
If your child takes stimulant medication, discuss the dosage with your child’s health care provider. Ask if there are any known effects of your child’s ADHD medication on sleep. Too much medication late in the day may keep kids awake. The health care provider can fine-tune your child’s medication.
Mention sleep issues to the person evaluating your child. If you’re having your child evaluated for ADHD, be sure to discuss your child’s sleep habits with the person doing the diagnosis. Also include it in the written ADHD assessment and intervention plan.
Deal with chronic anxiety. If your child often struggles to get to sleep or stay asleep, ask if there’s something worrying your child. Kids can get stuck thinking about something that has happened or that might happen at school or at home. See if your child can describe the worries so you can help come up with strategies. If the problem persists, talk to your child’s health care provider.
Tell the doctor if your child snores a lot. Also bring up any breathing problems you’ve noticed. Even if it isn’t keeping your child awake, it can still cut down on the quality of sleep.
Look into relaxation training techniques. These can be useful for some kids.
Ask the doctor about sleep medication. Kids with chronic sleep difficulty can be prescribed safe medications to promote sleep. A sleep specialist and your child’s health care provider can help you with this.