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Parents of ADHD Children

getting my child with adhd to go to bed

My son was just diagnosed with adhd, no medication yet. How can I get him to go bed it’s such a difficult time getting him to bed. Also is behavioral therapy affective and seeing a psychiatrist affective.


Do you have a routine?  ADHD responds well to routines. I would try after dinner maybe have 30 minutes to an hour of TV then bath, brush teeth, read a story then its time to stay in bed. You can’t make them sleep but the expectation can be that it is bedtime and he must stay in bed.  It is best not to have the TV on because it can interfere with sleep.  (I DID have TV for my son, it helped him relax and fall asleep, I had it on a timer, new research recommends no TV at bedtime). 

Is he getting outside playtime?  Playing outside can help a lot it burns off energy and the sunlight helps regulate the circadian rhythm.

Posted by Lee Anne on Dec 14, 2013 at 11:57pm

agree with exercise (a lot!!), routines, epsom salt baths, reading, quiet time.  the bedroom should be used, if possible, for quiet time only for association reasons. read books on the brain activity for people with adhd and see if any of it sounds like your son.  we tried the imagery, breathing techniques, lava lamps and they helped.  we also have to use 5 mg of melatonin.  early wake up times help too.

good luck.  it’s still an issue for us as he’s aged and changed over the years.  so what once worked may change over time. smile

Posted by lksl1231 on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:59am


For my son, a bed time routine was very important.  He knows exactly what we do (bath, brush teeth, tv show, books, bed) and when and there’s no straying from that. It took a while, but now bed time is the easiest part of our day.  No fighting at all.
My son is almost six and he sees a psychiatrist for medication and a psychologist for behavior therapy and the combo of the two seems to have helped.  Behavior therapy seems to be more beneficial though.  I’ve learned lots of ways to help my son in the therapy.  The medication is certainly not perfect.
Posted by Sporty on Dec 14, 2013 at 6:36pm

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:22pm


I had the same problem with my son until I started giving him 2 mg of melatonin about a half hour before bedtime, now he usually winds up asking to go to bed and falls asleep easily! He does still wake in the middle of the night but usually goes back to sleep easily as well. I do believe seeing a behavioral therapist and psych is affective!
Posted by ADHDMoooM on Dec 14, 2013 at 6:18pm

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:23pm

We had bedtime battles with my ADHD daughter from the time she graduated out of the crib at age 2 until 5 years later when I finally asked our pediatrician for help.  Our doctor recommended melatonin or clear Benadryl liquid.  She said to use the least amount of melatonin that would work.  We like the strawberry flavored fast dissolving kind from NATROL (available at WalMart).  We started with 3 mg but found that half a tablet works just as well.  She falls asleep within a 15 to 30 minutes (rather than 2 hours later).

Posted by Ninearrows on Dec 18, 2013 at 7:41am

Ugh…not sure how old your son is, but we had this battle for quite a while…probably a year and a half. He would attempt sleep, come down stairs a few times, fall asleep then wake up go in our room EVERY night. Or he would wake at 1am and go downstairs and watch tv eat Oreos or play video games. that made for horrible school days. Then, he wanted to START off sleeping on our floor, I usually put my foot down (zero mommy-daddy time) and some night I honestly didn’t feel like the fight. Finally, not sure where it turned (pre puberty hitting, melatonin given at 730p not 8pm), all I can say is thank God. Everyone here in this forum told me it would pass, and for you it will too. It’s rough though when you just want them to sleep…

Posted by Starla571 on Dec 19, 2013 at 7:48am

Our 8 1/2 year old daughter was officially daignosed with ADHD in August of this year.  We have noticed symptoms since she was 3 but the doctors would not diagnose until this year.  We have battled bedtime for several years.  She complains of it hurting to close her eyes at night.  She started medication for the ADHD symptoms in August and that did not really help the sleeping issues.  She also has a developmental disorder and has sensory issues.  She takes 0.1 mg of Clonidine along with 5 mgs of melatonin 1 hour prior to bedtime.  (We started out at 3 mgs of melatonin but that did not seem to be helping much so we increased to 5 and it seems to help.) 

We have also been battling her use of electronics.  After a hellish weekend, we finally had to take the electronics away indefinitely.  The fights over using them were just getting to be too much. We saw a connection between the stimulation from the electronics keeping her from sleeping.  She was having a very difficult time turning her mind off even if we made sure the electronics were put away 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.  We put relaxation stories on her CD player and that also seems to help her unwind at night.  We had been letting her use them on a MP3 player, but any apps or other items on the device would be too distracting and tempting and we would find her playing with those instead of sleeping.  She is not happy to have her electronics privileges suspended but she does seem to finally be sleeping better. 

Our routine looks like this (although some nights are easier than others):
7:30 p.m. - give 0.1 mg Clonidine and 5 mgs melatonin and warm milk falvored with a little vanilla
7:40 p.m. - she gets pajamas on, brushes teeth, and says prayers ( I also put a little lavender oil on her neck and feet)
8:00 p.m. - I read for 30 minutes
8:30 p.m. - lights out; listen to relaxation stories on CD player

Good luck with your son.  We are also hoping that eventually these sleeping “issues” will diminish and bedtime will become much easier.

Posted by mjsmom73 on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:11pm

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