Tired children make parents more tired! Children behave better and heal faster when they get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is often associated with psychopathology, depression, ADHD and emotion regulation. Setting them up for success includes establishing healthy sleep patterns.
Many of our children that have pain, abuse and/or neglect in their early history have sleep disturbances. They must feel safe to sleep soundly! Little ‘Rip Van Winkle’ must trust the adults in the home to protect him/her should an intruder arrive to ‘repeat’ the pain of their past.
Keys to Helping Children with Trauma or RAD Sleep
Children with RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder will only bond to a STRONG adult. We establish clear leadership first thing. Then, we put an alarm on the door so they know no one can sneak up and harm them while they are in a vulnerable state (sleeping). We make sure they get enough exercise daily. We feed them well with enough calcium, protein, and vitamins for a healthy body.
It is very helpful to set a steady routine around bedtime each evening at the SAME time. A relaxing bath with lavender to help calm, a story time, back rub, prayers and ‘tuck-in’ are routines we have found beneficial for the under 6 group. Babies and toddlers suffering from RAD should sleep with parents. Those over 6 must still have a set room time and can read or play quietly to unwind in their own room until they fall asleep. Younger children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep. And, teens need 9.5 hours of sleep, according to recent research.
Children with RAD Cannot Share a Room
Children with RAD cannot share a room and heal! It disrupts developing healthy sleep patterns, gives them a target for abuse and/or keeps them from sleeping soundly due to lack of trust. How soundly would you sleep with someone in your room you don’t trust! A separate room is not a luxury it is a necessity!
Lights out! Melatonin must be made in the dark! Without melatonin, proper sleep will not happen. Even a nightlight, moonlight, or street lights shining in the window will disrupt healthy sleep. Pull the curtains on sleepless nights and bad behavior due to overtired kids and find more energy for great parenting! Be sure and get ’40 winks’ for yourself too!
For more information on getting them to bed get a copy of the DVD set Mastering Steps.and see how I do it.