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Is your child getting enough sleep?

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Routine for settling down and going to sleep

  Following shower/bath lower the lighting in the area where the person is and no TV, video games, computer activities or any other activities involving looking at a screen or being in bright lights. Exposure to screens or bright lighting tells your brain it is time to wake up and be excited! If your child wants to watch a special TV show, then record it and let him/her watch it the next day before bath/shower. Control access to any TV, video games or TVs in your child's room, especially after bedtime. Some children are sleep deprived because they awaken during the night and watch TV, use the computer or play video games while everyone else in the household is asleep.
  During the 1-2 hours following shower/bath provide calming activities. This is a great time for reading, drawing, puzzles, playing with toys and listening to music—quiet activities that are not overly exciting. This is also a great time to read to your child, select tomorrow's outfit, provide a calming massage, cuddle, visit about preferred topics, look at pictures—any activity that is quiet and calming for your child. Massage is even more effective when it includes lotions made for calming such as lavender scented lotion.
  Focus on relaxing, not on going to sleep. Some people respond very favorably to visualizing themselves turning off their brain the same as they turn off a computer. It is also helpful to make a prop out of anything that clicks and has the cord or power supply removed (such as an old computer mouse, small flashlight or lamp with the cord or batteries removed). The person actually role plays going through the motions of "turning off" their brain for the night.
  Immediately before going to bed, take your child to the toilet.
  Accompany your child to the bedroom and complete a quiet, calm ritual for getting into bed. Talk in a low, calm voice when talk is necessary, but keep talk to a minimum. Tuck your child into bed, providing whatever supports he needs to feel secure and comfortable in bed. Provide a quiet, repetitive sound in the background, such as from a sound machine, sleep music or lullaby. Leave the room once your child has settled down. If he is having difficulty settling down, provide massage or other deep pressure input that is calming.

Additional supports for promoting sleep

Avoid any caffeinated food and beverages that are carbonated or contain caffeine within 5-7 hours of bedtime. This includes sodas, chocolate, tea and coffee.

Avoid drinking liquids after bath or shower. A few sips of water are allowable after your child climbs into bed. More than a few sips can interfere with falling asleep. Do not limit the overall amount of liquid your child consumes in a day, simply time drinking liquids so they are consumed earlier in the day.

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