How To Get A Child With Autism To Sleep Alone

It is common for both typically developing and children with Autism to have difficulty sleeping in their bedrooms alone. This can cause a lot of stress and divide amongst families. One of the most effective autism spectrum therapies known as “applied behavior analysis” can help children who are experiencing difficulties sleeping alone learn new skills to promote independent sleeping. If you think that this type of autism treatment is right for your child, reach out to your local autism therapy center. The following are some tips and tricks that may be helpful with teaching your child to sleep in their room on their own.

Set the stage.

One of the more obvious but important tips for helping your child fall asleep and stay asleep in their own bed is setting the stage. Make sure the environment is appropriate for sleep. Set up their bedroom with small things that signal to your child that it is sleep time like: dimming the lights (or turn on a special night light), white noise machine or fan, quiet calming music if they prefer that over white noise, and lastly make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable. Nobody likes to sleep in a room when it’s too hot or too cold!

Develop a routine.

Children with autism like consistency and routine. Create a simple bedtime routine that you can do every night with them so they know that it’s time to go to bed. There is no “right or wrong” routine, and it can be as simple as choosing their pajamas, brushing teeth, washing their face, and reading a quick story. When developing this routine, make sure that it is something that is realistic to your schedule. In order for the routine to work you need to be consistent and do it every night.

What motivates them?

If your child responds to tangible rewards, create a reward chart for staying in their bed for the entire night. Another common practice for older children is using bedtime coupons, where you give them 3 bedtime coupons for the week when they feel like they need a little bit of extra time with you before bed. Again, consistency is key. Make sure you follow through with giving rewards and following through with whatever reward system you create with your child. This will make them realize that they are doing a good job and should keep sleeping in their own bed.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Finally, it is important to note that if your child is already having trouble sleeping in their own bed, you are not going to see results over night. Patience will be your best friend. Make changes gradually to help them make the adjustment to sleeping alone. If you typically sleep in bed with them, start by telling them you will lay with them for 15 minutes and then you will go back into your room. After a night or two, tell them you will sit on the edge of their bed with them until they fall asleep. Slowly decrease the amount of time you spend sitting with them until you can leave without them becoming upset. Use a (very quiet) timer on your phone so you can be precise with how long you are staying. If your child has a tough night and needs you for a couple extra minutes, you can make a judgment call. Ask yourself “Will me staying throw off their progress?”. If not, tell them you will stay for one extra minute and then leave the room after that minute is up. Remember this is a slow process and it’s easy to become frustrated and give up. The more consistent you are the better the results will be. Do your best to stay strong!

If your child is having difficulty sleeping in their room by themselves you may want to reach out to an autism spectrum therapy center near you for an assessment. They can give you a better idea of whether you can solve your child’s sleeping issues on your own or if further autism treatment is recommended.

Meet the Experienced ABA Therapists at Capable Cubs ABA Therapy Center in Bergen County

At Capable Cubs, we believe that selecting an ABA therapy center near you is an incredibly critical decision with lasting consequences. As a leading ABA services provider in Bergen County, we encourage parents to always ask questions and evaluate our services and therapists without any hesitation.

Our team of highly trained ABA clinicians includes experienced and qualified BCBAs and RBTs who specialize in combining various ABA methods for providing the most effective treatment to your child with ASD. We create a structured roadmap for every child, including extensive initial assessments, comprehensive ABA treatment plans, critical learning milestones and effective discharge plans to successfully transition out of our care. Our goal is to help your child build the skills needed to increase independence, build meaningful relationships, and connect with their community.

Select an ABA therapy center that works best for your family’s priorities, needs, and goals. Get in touch with the Autism specialists at Capable Cubs. Call 201-786-6280 or contact us online to learn more about our quick intake process.