Enlist your child’s help in creating his or her bedtime routine. Grab a piece of soap and create a fun atmosphere for this new “game” your child gets to play every night. Come up with the bedtime checklist together and write in on the mirror in soap. It might look something like this:
Pick up 4 things off bedroom floor
Get in Bed
If you can’t stand the idea of soap on the bathroom mirror, then put the schedule in large letters on a piece of paper and let your child tape it to the mirror – where ever they want it to be! Be sure your child knows to start the checklist that night. For yourger children, a chart with stickers might also be useful if your child enjoys that type of reward system.
So here’s the key – don’t ever tell your child what to do again.
Five or ten minutes before bedtime say, “Go get your checklist done. I will meet you in your room at 8 pm.” Say this in a happy, excited tone of voice. Then here is the kicker…LEAVE and get out of their way! I can almost assure you that our kids will test this. That’s just what they do. So be prepared to move their bedtime 15 minutes earlier the next night. You are in his or her room at 8 pm and he or she is procrastinating. You simply say “I am so sorry your bedtime will need to be 7:45pm tomorrow night. Come hop in bed and we can try again tomorrow.” And then DROP IT! No matter what your child says, change the subject as quickly as possible. Do not mention the consequence again. I promise your child heard you the first time, but sees an opportunity to stay up later if he can engage you in a battle. It is never good to get in an argument, especially right before bedtime!
You must be sure to go through the same routine the next night with the earlier bedtime or all will be lost. Go through the exact same routine the next night, and most children will get it. If yours is particularly strong willed, you might have to do this two to three nights, but stick with it. Can you imagine how different things would be if you have an easy nighttime routine? It will be worth two or three nights of tantrums. When the night arrives when they meet you in their room on time with everything accomplished, be sure to give them a high five and praise them lavishly. Tell them how proud you are and how responsible they have become. Give them a hug and kiss and then get them to bed.
Check out my new book, “Healing Our ADHD Children” for an 8 week program to walk you through diet changes and supplementation. Also additional BLOGS on www.LindaArtis.com. Get answers to questions by joining our ADHD Healing Facebook Group.