Over the past 18 months or so...

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
kt has been hospitalized x2; spent 11 months at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) & then has transitioned home - with a few detours along the way.

The one constant has been her day treatment/school setting. While not perfect, it is a wonderful fit for kt.

Having said that, over the last 18 months kt has had to be up & moving by 5:30 a.m at the very latest to catch the bus for day treatment.

She is currently on break until the day after Labor Day. husband & I are noticing that her sleep patterns are far more natural - in bed & asleep by 10:30 or so. She's slept in until 11:30 the last couple of mornings & woke in such a positive happy frame of mind. Did her list of responsibilities & moved on with her day.

kt is of the age where her sleep patterns & being allowed to sleep in the morning is very important. I'm wondering how many of you have noticed with the change in early bus/school start times, the change in your difficult child?


Active Member
Kanga starts school almost 2 hours late so she gets a normal sleep schedule and she is much more pleasant.


Here we go again!
difficult child 2 will regularly sleep 12 hours if he is not interrupted. I've been trying not to interfere with that this summer whenever possible, and it makes for a happier and more emotionally balanced kid.

However, when school starts he won't be able to have that luxury.

And lately, he seems to be having a harder time falling asleep -- I'm wondering if it's the Depakote? And if so, what do we do about that... :confused:


New Member
No question in my mind that having to get up early for school caused a lot of my daughter's issues with school, especially starting about 5th grade. I kept wishing I could find a school that was on a double session. It would have made things so much better for her.

No matter how early she had to get up, she couldn't go to sleep before 11 pm and it was usually more like 1 am before she was even remotely ready to consider sleeping once puberty set in. She was and is a person who needs at least 9 hours of sleep and actually does best with 10+ hours. Of course, the lack of sufficient sleep also spilled over to her home life and how she interacted with her peers.

Now, she usually sleeps until 10 am or later if I let her. If she has to get up earlier, I kind of whimper to myself because I know she'll be unbearable by 2 pm. If she could, she'd stay up until 3 am every night. I did put my foot down on that one because the tv usually wakes me up either by being played downstairs or being shut off and the light upstairs coming on. So, she now goes to bed between midnight and 2 am.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Once my kids hit Jr High they had to be up by 5am to get to school on time. It was horrible for both Nichole and Travis who had gotten up each morning for school before that just fine. Once they got into Jr High, though mornings became a nightmare. :surprise:

Then they never seemed to be able to get enough sleep, plus were cranky as all get out by the end of the day. Small wonder they kept their 9pm bedtime til they were about 16. :hammer:

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Sleep in many ways is such a simple solution, yet a huge component for our difficult children & their ability to function.

And this really has been eye opening for me this past summer.

Thanks ladies.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You are right about sleep being a simple solution-getting enough sleep is huge and yet something that is so difficult to obtain during the school year.

My difficult child just doesn't sleep late no matter how we would let him. That's a good thing during the school year and not so good during the summer. Luckily the medications he takes helps him fall asleep at a reasonable time or I don't think difficult child would ever sleep!


New Member
There is so much research on how much better later school start times are for adolescents. My girl, now 18, is not a morning person. When she was kt's age, I had to drag her out of bed for school, sometimes without success. She often slept in her uniform do she wouldn't have to get dressed in the morning.

I agree with you. Sleep patterns really do affect adolescents personality and behavior.


Well-Known Member

sleep is a huge issue for our difficult children. Mine was fortunate that the city school system has the younger kids go last so his school didn't begin until 9:05. Beginning this year it will be an hour earlier for middle school. But at this point, he only really sees the hour earlier dismissal!!!!!

The county where easy child goes has the better plan. The elem school starts first, then middle, then high - I think the older kids need more sleep since they stay up later.

Both my kids are much more pleasant when allowed to sleep by their body clock (which they have always done in the summer).



New Member
absolutely.Even if he's had 8-10 hours of sleep that night, my son is always in a better mood if he wakes up on his own than if I have to wake him up.


Active Member
ant never could get out of bed. I have to say for the past 11 months, he is up, showered and ready for work on time. whatever gets them motivated to get out of bed is good good good!


Active Member
Sleep is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE, component in my difficult child being successful! So much so, it was one of the main reasons I homeschooled him back in the day. 10-12 hours, (I know, that is a lot isn't it?) and he is a new and happy man - less than that he is grumpy, irritable, and impulsive.

Yesterday he had trouble sleeping the night before, and he was just so off kilter........more negative, nasty. I asked him what was up, and he said, "well, duh, I didn't get enough sleep mom! I need my sleep!" This coming from a kid who has the hardest time with sleeping ever (the mania of bi-polar is a killer for him) - and hates going to bed - but finally he too is noticing how vital sleep is.

I do wonder if our kids with mental illness need more sleep for their brain to organize, and align itself. Just a thought that has rattled around in my head.

Is there any way kt can do half day at the school, or a 3/4 day so she get more sleep? Or have a kid type taxi take her to school so that she does not have to get up so early?


My wee difficult child has been getting on a bus to school for a year and a half now.
His sleep schedule, tho, is non-existent. Past two nights he's gone to bed before 7pm and slept til I woke him at 7am. A month ago, he was staying up til midnight or later and could not go to sleep, despite trying so hard. On our little vacation in there, he was going to bed at 9pm and sleeping 12 hours. He does not fight sleep and never has, and often will take himself to bed when he's tired.
So, while his sleep "pattern" is not there, his need for sleep is very evident thru his various "periods" or "stages". And during those times when he can't get the sleep he needs (can't go to sleep before midnight and he has to get up at 6:30am) and it drags on for days on end, that becomes the link between successful days and disasters.

difficult child 1 was a morning person.

Personally, I'm a night owl. If I could sleep til 8 everyday, and work my tail off around 8pm, be my dream job. I hold down my 8-4:30, andI get up at 6 to do it, and my kids always catch the bus, blah, blah, blah, but it is not the most efficient use of "me", even at this age. easy child 1 is the same way.


It's not just an issue for difficult child's, although lack of sleep does exacerbate the behaviors. Our pediatrician says that the vast majority of jr high and high school students are sleep deprived and that the SD's have it backwards; elementary school should start at the early time and high school later.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sharon ~ my school district tried to change our high school start times based on the research that showed that teens would benefit from more sleep and the parents in the district went berserk. They wanted their teenagers home first so that they could babysit younger siblings. The parents also were concerned about sports practices and after school jobs.

So my high school starts at 7:15. It's not easy to teach Algebra to sleepy teenagers at 7:15 in the morning. Add to that the fact that I'm not a morning person either and you get a grumpy teacher and sleepy students.


I would love to start later and end later.



Well-Known Member
At one time, many years ago in Miami, they had split sessions
in order to accomodate more students in existing buildings. It
was a fiasco because some kids in one family would start early
and get out early and others would begin late and get out late.
I've always wondered (and probably will never know!) what would
happen if they had alternate schedule signups. It would keep
some new schools from having to be budgeted plus it would allow
us "late people" a chance to function at our best. My guess is
that it would be pretty much an even split if families were empowered in making the choice.

by the way, in our city this year they have taken all kindergardens
out of three elementary schools and are opening a K center. All
the schools are getting three or four more classrooms to use for
grades 1 +. All the K teachers will be together at the new center which probably will lead to a better education for the
five year olds too. Believe it or not GFGmom's little girl, my
youngest grandchild by the way, will be starting this month. Boy time
does fly! DDD