When parents or teachers come to me with a child exhibiting difficulties at home or at school relating to self-regulation, the first question I always ask is: “What time does you child go to bed?” This question is followed by, “What time does he/she wake up?” And finally: “Does he/she sleep through the night?”
I often sit with parents and put together a concrete bed-time schedule if there winds up being a problem in this area. In many cases, given time and consistency, if sleep is a genuine area of concern, having a consistent bedtime routine combined with some environmental modifications, behaviors gradually improve (I love making schedules, you should see my house- my kids are totally therapized.)
Why do I ask about sleep first, might you ask? Sleep is one of the most important foundations for learning and behavior; without proper sleep, many behaviors that may seem ‘sensory’ or ‘defiant’ may in fact be a result of lack of proper sleep.
Check out this great quick-tip sheet from the AOTA for some suggestions for implementing bedtime routines, to help make sleeping through the night (and getting to that point!) a smoother transition! :
For information of how much sleep your child needs, by age, check out this link from kidshealth.org: