When we are sleep deprived, we can become forgetful and stressed so do not always recognise what’s happening at night.
Every night merges into one, so you need to be able to take night time and look at it in segments. Using a sleep diary can help you identify areas of inconsistency and areas to praise. You might even notice your child is getting more sleep than you thought!
To be effective, you need to complete your sleep diary honestly and fully.
If your child sleeps elsewhere, such as a respite centre or another family member’s house, ask them to fill in the sleep diary. You might notice your child’s sleep pattern is different there.
Check with your school to see if your child naps in the day. Ask the escort if they sleep on the bus home. This will affect night-time sleep if the nap is too late in the day or if they are at an age when they should not need naps.
Keep the diary and a pencil by the bed. Fill it in immediately as it's hard trying to remember what happened later.
Share the diary with sleep professionals to see if they can help you find a cause for your child’s sleeping difficulties.
Keep the diary for at least 2 weeks. See if you can see a pattern to your child’s sleeping habits. You can then identify an area that you can start to address.
Starry sky reward chart
What you need
Blue or black card
A pack of star stickers
Something to fix it to the wall or fridge
What to do
Get a black or dark blue piece of card. The size depends on how big your family is or how many stars you want to fill. Feel free to decorate it.
If it would help, give a maximum number of stars to fill the sky (such as 35 or 50). This way children know how many they need to achieve the award.
Everyone uses the same colour stars. You get 1 star for good and positive behaviour, doing chores or an act of kindness. Do not take away stars if there is negative behaviour. The reward chart is a visual incentive or reminder for the child.
Agree on a group activity or treat once the night sky is filled with stars.
All the family are involved and get rewards. Children can give the adults stars as well.
When the night sky is full of stars, you get the treat!