As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Planning a Bedtime Routine

With summer almost upon us, and school out of session soon, bedtime routines can easily be forgotten. Bedtime routines are very important and should be reinforced all year long (and weekends too). Here is some helpful information to help you plan a bedtime routine for your child.

Bedtime Routine Suggestion

  • Make the routine the same every night (order and timing)
  • Limit the routine to 3-4 main activities
  • Limit the routine to less than 30 minutes
  • Avoid extending the time for the bedtime routine
    (“Just one more song? PLEASEEEE!”)
  • Avoid having the routine take you all over the house
    (upstairs for a bath, to the family room for a video, to the kitchen for a snack)
  • Move “hard” activities early in the evening
    (organizing clothes or papers for the next day of school)
  • Move enjoyable and relaxing activities to end of the routine
    (reading a story, hearing a lullaby)

Bedtime Routines

1. What are the main activities that occur in your child’s current bedtime routine?

Make a list like the one below and put a checkmark next to the activity to indicate the routines that occur in your child’s current bedtime routine. For each routine checked, indicate whether it is usually easy (E) or is hard (H) most of the time, and whether your child seems to find it stimulating (S) or relaxing (R). Then rank activities in order of preferred in last column.

Think about whether hard or stimulating activities can be moved earlier in the evening.


  • Taking a bath
  • Washing hair
  • Changing into pajamas
  • Getting a drink
  • Brushing teeth
  • Using the bathroom
  • Singing quiet songs
  • Reading a story
  • Other:

2. Using the information above, plan a bedtime schedule for your child. Hard (H) and Stimulating (S) activities should go first to generate a routine.

We used this strategy to make Bryce’s bedtime routine!

Thanks for reading,

Information from Vanderbilt University Medical Center© Vanderbilt Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Drs. Malow and McGrew


  1. So what is Bryce's bedtime routine?

  2. @Matthew Sabatini Check out Monday, March 22nd, 2010's blog entry :)


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