By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
Founding Editor, bSci21.org
In a recent Huffington Post article, Sarah Kupferschmidt, M.A., BCBA provided four simple tips for parents struggling to get their kids to sleep. When appropriate, examples from my own parenting experiences are also included.
1) Keep the bedroom cozy and calm. In other words, get the stimulating auditory and visual gadgets out of the room and, while you’re at it, keep any excitatory behavior out of the room as well. For our children, we have had success with white noise iPad apps that play sounds of rain, ocean waves, etc… in the bedroom.
2) Develop a consistent routine. For “consistent” read “predictable.” Part of the routine should also include “winding down time” that acts as a transition between normal home activities and bedtime. In my own home, we have had success with a relaxing Pandora station to help wind down our children.
3) Be aware of sleep dependencies. Dependencies include “things in the environment that your child needs to have in place to fall asleep” including being held, rocked, or sushed. Dependencies can also include objects such as a pillow, or stuffed animal, that can be beneficial in your absence.
4) Consider a bedtime pass. Sarah recommends a bedtime pass if your child frequently gets out of bed or makes requests through the night. The pass itself can take on a variety of forms, but functions as a discriminative stimulus that allows your child to make a limited number of requests during the night. Sarah notes “you might start out with 3 passes and gradually after a few nights reduce it to 2 passes then 1 pass.”