Question regarding sleep routine

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wee difficult child has never slept on a "schedule". Ever. As a tiny baby, he ate and slept on his terms, despite our best efforts to normalize it.

    The university research team that is working with us is formalizing his bedtime and morning routines to "help with his sleep patterns".

    We have charts on the fridge that show what to do and when to get ready for bed, and after getting up in the morning. Neither is any different than we already did; they're just now physical drawings on a paper on the fridge. They wanted me to reward him with stickers, but he doesn't care about the stickers, so I quit trying and told them why.

    A month ago, wee difficult child wasn't even making it past 7pm and he'd crash on the couch. The past 2 weeks, he's rarely asleep by 10pm, sometimes even 11, even tho we're going thru the routine and he's going to bed (and staying there) at "bedtime" and getting up at "wake-up time" each morning.

    So, if this routine is going to help difficult child with his sleep patterns, how long will it take to have some affect on him?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm not sure I understand -- you're doing the routine, and it's making things worse? Or difficult child is sleeping when he wants in spite of the routine?
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh god...the dreaded sticker charts! I hated sticker charts. If I did charts I had to do charts for three and it was a pain in the neck and they didnt work either. None of them gave two hoots about smiley

    How about a voucher system? That may have worked for just one kid because you can more easily keep track of the actual "voucher". I tried using poker chips or marbles or even tickets but the kids stole them from each other or they lost them.

    Now I think I would make dollars with their pictures on them as vouchers but back then I didnt have a computer. I could also keep a bank account for them online. Much easier with computers. But still the vouchers were tough with more than one...I was always giving something out and keeping track...ugh.

    As far as how long something takes...dont they say it takes so many weeks to make or break a habit? If he is staying in his room quietly I think that is a great start.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We're doing the routine pretty much as we always have, but its "formal" now (meaning its on a picture chart on the fridge for difficult child to follow). If he stays up until his actual bedtime, he's following it and going to bed at bedtime. If he doesn't stay awake that long, he's falling asleep wherever he's at.

    This is the way its always been with him. Its no different now. He has never fought sleep or going to bed, he just never got on a schedule (ie WHEN he fell asleep) that stuck with him day in and day out. His sleep patterns seem to change every few weeks - for a while, he'll crash at 6pm. Then after 4 or 5 weeks of that (or more or less), he'll start staying up til 11 or 12 every night. After a few weeks of that, he'll shift again. Meanwhile, our routines don't change despite his changes (he has to go to his bed at bedtime, etc).

    Janet, they wanted to do the sticker chart and for every 5 stickers, he'd get a fake dollar, then he could "buy" extra video game time, or "special time with mom", or whatever. But he is not understanding the whole fake money/buy game time/mom time thing, he's not motivated by the stickers alone, and we have never had a problem with him either going to bed or getting up (unless he hated his teacher, then the morning routine was a problem), so I'm missing the point of rewarding him for something he's already doing anyway. What he's not doing is falling sleep at the same time day in and day out, and I don't think that's something he can control - when you can't sleep, you can't sleep. Sometimes he'll even ask me to take him for a drive in my truck when he can't sleep, etc, so its not for lack of wanting to sleep.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think sleep should be a fake money issue to start with....I think that should be for some chore or something like that. Sleep is a bodily function. Nobody could pay me to go to

    He would probably understand the fake money if you told him...if you pick up all those eggs every day you earn a difficult child the end of the week you get to choose out of the basket if you have three difficult child bucks.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like the docs don't understand the problem. They are using a common technique on an uncommon child.

    Have they suggested any medications to help induce sleep? maybe a couple of weeks of a good sleep medication to get him to sleep at a set time would help his body establish a sleep pattern?

    Is his behavior affected by the sleep pattern? Is he more or less likely to meltdown if he gets less sleep? Or more sleep? Or does it matter? If it doesn't matter, it seems like a waste of time and effort. (Actually it already seems like a waste of time because he is not motivated by their little charts. The chart system is more complicated than he can handle. AND he already goes to bed.)

    When he is up late what does he do? Is he wandering all over the house? Leaving the house? Reading or playing quietly in his room? Jumping on the furniture?

    I just wonder why the emphasis on this if getting him to bed and up in the am is not difficult?
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'm with you, Janet.

    Susie, we've tried melatonin, tenex, and clonodine for sleep. Melatonin does nothing. Clonodine and tenex do nothing when he's manic. When he's not manic, we can't get the doses down small enough to not knock him out for hours and hours and hours - we were using 1/8 of .1mg tablets and still making him sleep for 13 or 14 hours. Plus he seemed to be a lot more aggressive on the clonodine and really groggy on the tenex.

    If he is overly tired, his behavior will be worse, but there's been plenty of nights that he'll have stayed up all night long and be fine all the next day. In fact, one of his best days at this public school was a day that he went to bed at 6pm, got up at 10pm, stayed up all night, all day the next day, and went to bed at 9 the next night. Now, had he gotten tired in there, it would have probably not been very good, but he didn't; he was fine.

    He used to stay up all night on a regular basis and it was awful cause someone had to stay up with him (I don't know how I survived this child - when he was 14 months to age 4.5, he slept about half the nights). Now its occassional, and he's old enough he'll just veg in front of the tv (which is not something he normally does, either - he's not big a tv watcher). The worst thing he'll do now is eat whatever he wants and maybe string legos all over the living room floor and not pick them up until morning. The last time he was up all night, he drank 1/3 of a 2 liter bottle of root beer and ate chips and dip. I slept on the couch so he wasn't completely unattended, but I can't keep his hours and apparently missed the whole root beer thing, but really, in the scheme of things, that's not exactly hideous.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Did he use a cup? If so I am impressed with his eye hand There are far worse things he could have been doing than chips and dip and soda. Sounds like a good difficult child.

    I never had sleep issues with the kids. Thank heavens because I probably would have killed someone. Sleep was my respite. I couldnt do bedtimes the way people do them today. My grands dont do bedtime. They are up till whenever. I am astounded. Now when Keyana was a baby and spent the majority of her time here, we had a bedtime and she stuck to it. But when she went back, she came here on the weekends up till all hours and I know her older brother was always up till all hours. We try to put her to bed by 9 on our weekends because she doesnt nap anymore and we are I know Hailie is up longer than that because of when we visit and when we call on the phone we hear her. I would have been a basketcase. Mine were in bed by 7:30 as toddlers.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Oh, yeah, he got a glass down and the whole nine yards. I knew he had "a glass" of soda cause I helped him get the first one. Wasn't til morning that I realized he refilled that glass a few times. lol

    He is a good kid. Except when he's not. lol
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Yeah that is a tough one. I would have a hard time with rewarding something that he really has no control over?
    Try telling me to go to bed when I am Manic! HA HA
    Sticker charts are a joke here also.
    Sounds like they are grasping at straws with him. Or starting from square one.
    So he is doing everything he is supposed to? But his chemical imbalance fluctuates and causes him to not be able to sleep at times? Right?
    I don't see how a sticker can fix that! LOL
    That is just the cynic in me.
    But that is how I feel when our therapist tried to say the same thing regarding something else to us.

    I was just telling husband last night that a group of parents with kids like ours would come up with better suggestions than most doctor's and therapist's. We need our own clinic!

    We have to keep with our schedule, but mix it up depending on K's moods.
    So sometimes it is- she just flat out passes out! Yippee.
    Other times she needs a back rub, books read to her. Night light on or off. Sound machine on or off. Aromatherapy spray. Weighted blanket.
    Or other times we just give her her hand held Didj game and let her fall asleep playing that.

    And if all else fails- STICKER CHARTS!!!
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm not understanding the dollar thing for this issue, either. It doesn't sound like the problem is sleep; the problem is that his body isn't on a set schedule. He sleeps when he's tired, he's up when he isn't.

    I can relate, based on stories my mother tells, because my sleep schedule is somewhat similar to difficult child's. When I was about a year old, I used to stay up and watch Johnny Carson with my dad, while Mom went to sleep. Then I'd be up about 6 am, ready to go. As a tween-ager, I was up till midnight. Now, I watch the 11 o'clock news, maybe Nightline, and then What's My Line and To Tell The Truth (the originals, from the 1950's) come on the Game Show Network. The alarm goes off at 5:30 am.

    Maybe a TV with acceptable DVD's in his room, a picnic basket with acceptable snacks, and a reminder that everyone else needs to sleep now, so play quietly or watch a Disney movie until you're tired?
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sounds like those medications were not helpful. I wonder why they don't try ambien or lunesta with kids? I am sure there is a reason, but I don't know it. I would think for short term, to break a cycle would be worth a try maybe. but it may not be safe for wee ones. Who knows?

    The whole issue would not be one I spent much time on. I know Wiz had strange hours for many years. Jessie does too. She was the only one of mine to crawl into bed with us. (She spent about a year with her head on the back of my neck and her toes in her dad's face or mouth - EEEUUUWW!). But as long as they slept I let them be.

    Wee difficult child seems to be fine when up along. And if a chemical imbalance is causing the sleeplessness, well, no fake dollar or sticker can change it. I do see that good sleep hygeine can be very helpful for adults with BiPolar (BP), but with a child this young he simply cannot control it.

    Surely there are other things the docs can concentrate on that will have more of a reward for the energy they require?
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Really, I'm with you guys. Just curious how long I have to play this game before they'll "get it", too.
    Honestly, I am just biding my time with this. Trying to keep an open mind that something might click this time around, but not holding my breath. This research team was suggested by the principal when wee difficult child first started there and they are actually "on my side" with regards to the school situation. They also have a big foot in the door with the principal (he recommended them to "fix" things at home, and they are now trying to "fix" things at school). So I gotta keep 'em happy. I told them we used TEC and CPS and had great luck with it, and they went out and bought a copy of TEC for everyone in the school that works with wee difficult child. They're doing some training with his paras this week. They're pushing to get him back in school with adequate supports.
    But am curious, if it were to work, how long does it take for a routine to have results...
    Just fyi, in their evaluation at home, the "problems" they found out of 12-15 areas, were in supervision (because of the sleep problems), and consistency and expectations, and those were because we don't draw lines in the sand with difficult child except on things that are currently in A or B, which they agree with us doing. So...that left sleep problems to fix (unless they have the magic answer to fix his other problems).
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009