091: How to Help Kids with ADHD Sleep, with Melissa Doman

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spreaker  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

A large percentage of the ADHD population — kids and adults alike — struggle with sleep. Your child might have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep during the night, or both. When kids aren’t sleeping, parents likely aren’t getting adequate sleep either and that takes a toll on the entire family. In this episode of the Podcast, I’m talking with sleep consultant, Melissa Doman, about all things sleep. We discuss why sleep challenges arise, strategies to help your kids fall asleep and stay asleep, and even how to get kids sleeping in their own beds. If your child (or you) struggle with sleep, this is an episode not to be missed.


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter on what’s working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox.

Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

My Guest


Melissa Doman is a sleep consultant, for children with special needs and their families. She has a decade of experience teaching parents of children with a variety of diagnoses, and uses this knowledge to enhance her sleep training programs. She is passionate about empowering parents with knowledge to help their children reach their full potential. Melissa has worked with children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, Cerebral palsy, Trisomy 21, Autism, developmental delays, and more. She loves coaching parents to get their kids sleeping well and independently.



Melissa Doman (00:00): The consistency component of it. It's, it's tough. It's the most challenging part when it comes to making changes with sleep. But what we have to remember is that for any average person, it takes at least three weeks to really learn a new habit and get it solidified.

Intro (00:24): Welcome to the Parenting ADHD Podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author ADHD-aholic and Mindset Mama honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams (00:54): Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. I'm thrilled today to be talking to you a sleep consultant, Melissa Doman, we're going to talk all things, sleep with our kids with ADHD. It's often a struggle that we have a struggle that our kids have. And so I'm really excited that Melissa is going to be providing some insights and strategies for us on sleep today. Can you start Melissa by introducing yourself who you are and what you do?

Melissa Doman (01:23): Yeah, absolutely. Well, I, my name is Melissa. I, I am asleep consultant and I work specifically with special needs families to help them get their kid, not only sleeping independently, sleeping well, but really to give them tools and guidance for any potential issues that come up down the line and just really give parents everything that they need to make sure that their child is getting a good night's rest so that they can thrive in, in all the areas that they need to.

Penny Williams (02:01): Yeah. And I think so often we discount how important sleep really is, how much it contributes to our functioning during our awake times.

Melissa Doman (02:12): Absolutely. Absolutely. And the myth that is often put out there about kids with special needs regardless of the diagnosis is that, Oh, they don't need as much sleep and there's something going on where they really don't need quite as much as the average kid, but nothing can be further from the truth. When you have a child with any kind of developmental issue the brain has to work that much harder to catch up and to develop. So it needs a lot of rest time to make sure that it can kind of recuperate organize and just make sure things are sticking from what a child learns during the daytime.

Penny Williams (02:59): Yeah. And how much sleep do our kids really need. Do you want to break that down a little bit by age? I'm always surprised at how much sleep teens need and how little they actually get. They're pretty much way off what they need, but it would be good to outline that for everybody. So we have kind of a target a goal.

Melissa Doman (03:17): Yeah, absolutely. Well, and that's the tricky thing. I think with teens, they get to a point where they want to be adults and they want to live like adults. And sometimes that means that they sleep like adults, which doesn't mean that's what they need. But typically with my babies and my toddlers that I work with, usually up until about five to six years old, I'm encouraging parents to try and get at least 12 hours of sleep ideally during the night. And of course, maybe a couple more hours with naps during the day, but a lot of kids even into the ages of five, six, even close to eight or nine years old, they still need a good solid 12 hours. Now there are, of course some outliers, some of my children I've worked with who are closer to that age of eight years old. Sometimes they can get away with about 10 and a half hours and have a great day the next day. But after the age of eight or so then things start to change a little bit. So usually I'm recommending to my families between the ages of eight to 11, maybe we're looking at about 10 hours a little bit more than 10 hours of sleep. And as we get closer to the age of 11 and into those teenage years and your child should be trying to get at least 10 hours, but as they start to become high school age, getting closer to nine hours is totally acceptable.

Penny Williams (04:52): Yeah. And that's a lot of sleep. That's what I mean, that's a lot more sleep than most kids are getting. And most adults are getting. I don't think we are prioritizing it as much as we need to. If we think about 10 hours of sleep for a kid who has to get up at 6:00 AM, that means they're going to bed at 8:00 PM at the latest, early. Right. Right. Especially for a middle school kid or a high school kid, they're not going to sleep anywhere near that early. So it's something to really encourage. I know my son's therapist is talking to him all the time. (he's 17) about how he cannot feel good when he doesn't sleep. Feel good when he doesn't eat. Right. And trying to really stress the importance of that to him and the role that it's playing in the way that he's feeling from day to day. Let's talk a little bit about common struggles for kids with ADHD, maybe autism common sleep struggles. I know my own son has struggled with falling asleep with staying asleep and we have some sensory stuff going on and that we can talk about to you, but let's just start first with, what do you see normally as the challenges for this population?

Melissa Doman (06:11): Yeah. And just to go back to what you were saying about your own son, for a lot of the older kids that I work with, they've spent years not sleeping well, so they don't even know what it feels like to have a good night's rest. And once that finally starts to happen, I think things start to click for them. They're like they start to realize, Oh yeah, I feel a lot better. I'm a bit more regulated during the day when I'm resting. And this is what my older kids have told me. Once they start to be start resting better, they just seem a lot more focused and things don't seem as overwhelming in a number of different ways. But some of the common struggles that I will say, as you said, I'm struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep. But I find that with kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD and for some of my children on the spectrum that, that time to fall asleep or that time they're up during the night can be hours, hours.

Melissa Doman (07:16): And I, I mean, I've been working as a sleep consultant now for almost four years and it still boggles my mind, how common this issue is. Many of my moms and dads that reach out to me say, my kid is up at 1:30 AM and they won't fall back asleep until five. And it's been happening for months or years and they don't, they don't know why it's happening. And my, my parents, they, you can hear how frustrated they are about it and how concerned they are, because they can see on their child's face. Like they want to go back to sleep. They literally, there's just something preventing that from happening. And that is very common in the beginning of the night as well, where it can take two over two hours to get to sleep at night. And in addition to that there's the problem of just starting your day at 3:00 AM, even with just six hours under your belt.

Melissa Doman (08:13): And the tricky thing can be that sometimes kids can get that amount of sleep and they seem totally fine the next day, or they can go another 36 hours without a lot of sleep. But at a certain point you do kind of hit a wall and you really do start to feel that exhaustion and parents will see that during the daytime, just with how their child experiences things from a sensory standpoint or the way they're behaving or their language or their balance or coordination, like all of these things at a certain point, we'll start to kind of go off track. And when the sleep is finally starting to get better, parents start to see that resetting and things flowing the way they should.

Penny Williams (09:00): Yeah. And so I hear that same struggle with parents about kids waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to go back to sleep or being up for the day at 3 or 4 AM. So, so often... It's super common.

Melissa Doman (09:14): And, it's so exhausting. I mean, it's so exhausting for parents and being a parent of a special needs child, I mean, there's so much more that goes into that than the average parent, and I'm not knocking that the parent should have neuro-typical kids. It's a lot of work, but for my special needs parents, you're a therapist. You're a cook you're, you're this you're a part time lawyer. There's so many responses. Exactly. There's so many things that you have to do for your child and when your child's not sleeping well, you're not sleeping well. And that exhaustion can, can be really, really wearing, not on just the child, but for parents as well.

Penny Williams (10:01): Yeah. It's tough. We need rest just as much as our kids do. We need it for brain function and our mood, and just being able to feel decent during the day. And I don't think adults are getting enough sleep either. And right now, when the world is so stressful, I'm personally finding it a lot harder to sleep. But, in "normal times," we were still struggling a lot with sleep. And let's talk a little bit about strategies. So I thought it might be easier to break down strategies into falling asleep strategies and staying asleep strategies. So let's start with falling asleep. What kind of strategies and tools do you often find useful for that?

Melissa Doman (10:50): The first thing that I will encourage my parents to do is really just make sure that their child is getting to bed at a time that they need to. So using that, that guideline with how many hours your child needs based on their age you really need to make sure that they're getting to bed as close to an early time where they could be getting adequate hours. And a lot of times just making bedtime a bit earlier, even by 30 minutes or so you're much closer to that window of opportunity where your energy, your child's energy is really dipping at its lowest for the night. And by taking advantage of that, you're preventing over tiredness. And when the child is overtired, they, the last thing they want to do is try and get to sleep. They're much more active. They're kind of running on fumes though.

Melissa Doman (11:45): It's not like their daytime activity, and it just becomes a lot harder to settle down, wind down. So that, that would be the first thing. The second thing is making sure that your child not only has a consistent bedtime routine, but that your bedtime routine includes things that allows your child's needs to be met. So a lot of times with my bedtime routines that I give to my kids and to my families we include a lot of tactile things. We include a lot of things there from an auditory standpoint, we make sure that there's no screen. So we handle any kind of visual hypersensitivity. So making sure that as many of the cups are full before bedtime, the brain is going to be in a lot happier state. And it's, the brain is basically saying, okay, those needs are met.

Melissa Doman (12:43): We're good. Now we can do all this overtime work that we have to do at night because the brain does a lot, a lot of things at night. So yeah, making sure that bedtime is appropriate for your child. And it's going to be on the earlier side. And that's totally fine. A consistent bedtime routine where again, you're really handling as many of your child's needs as possible. And for some of my, for some of my kids with ADHD sometimes that includes even just positive mindset work or just some breathing exercises, because for a lot of these kids, there's, there's a lot of built up tension and stress that they might might not even be aware of. And ultimately there has to be an outlet somewhere. So incorporating a couple of these things into the bedtime routine. Especially with my older kids, I find can be really helpful just to make sure everything is really nice and relaxed before bedtime.

Penny Williams (13:46): Yeah. In that routine, just having a routine gives a sense of safety and security, it's calming and soothing all on its own because they know what to expect. Some tools that we've used for a very long time since my son was six weighted blanket has been huge for us because he was a hyperactive little one. So he was a sensory seeker in that way. And he needed that proprioceptive input to calm. And I remember when before diagnosis, before we really knew what his extra needs were, why things were happening necessarily, we had to create what we called the taco and we had to put every pillow, every stuffed animal, every item we had to squish it in. And that was the only way that he would even attempt to stay in bed and try to fall asleep. And so now, we realize, 'Oh, well, that's why the weighted blanket is helping.'

Penny Williams (14:52): And he just needed that sense of kind of grounding. And we've been through several because now he's the size of a man at 17. They've had to get bigger and heavier, but it's a real go-to for him. He will seek it out every night, even on his own. It's not one of those accommodations that he refuses and says, I don't need that, like teens like to do. We also use sleep gummies that has the melatonin and some other things like camomile in them that are super helpful. The Olly brand is what we use and we've also found like nature sounds or music playing when he's falling asleep has been helpful as well. And then on really hard days, we use the celestial seasonings sleepy time extra tea, it is good stuff, really helpful.

Penny Williams (15:54): So there's so many different kinds of tools that you just have to figure out do they need some sensory input going on physically? Do they need something to focus on as far as sound or audio to kind of just key down because I think, and the same happens to me as well, our brains just run wild with thoughts, if we have nothing to focus on. For some people it's counterintuitive to have music or something playing, but it can be something to focus on so that your mind isn't just running and running to give the opportunity to sleep. So those are things that have worked for us. And I know a lot of other parents of kids with ADHD have used similar tools as well.

Melissa Doman (16:44): Yeah. And I'll use a combination of those things. I do realize that for my families you can kind of get swept up in weighted blankets and essential oils and this supplement and this melatonin, andI do want to try and keep it simple for families as well. We'll maybe start with a few of those things and I really try and get my feedback from parents to say like, 'wow, we put this in and it was kinda hit or miss,' so then we take it out. Because I also realized that you want to just pick the things that are really working and successful rather than just keeping up with all the extra stuff and that combination. I mean the weighted blanket or the compression sheet, that helps for some kids, but maybe not every kid and with some children it's worked wonders with just like a little bit of camomile or a little bit of magnesium before bedtime. Sometimes that's all the kid really needs. And once the bedtime routine is in place it's smooth sailing, but it's not every child. And I do you've got to find that right combination of bedtime rituals for everyone.

Penny Williams (18:05): And when you mentioned magnesium, it made me think of Natural Calm, which we've used at times, the powdered magnesium seems to work a lot better than taking a pill of magnesium, at least for us it did. And it's super, super calming. I also was thinking about when you were talking about calming activities, reading a book or whatever, or doing some sort of mindfulness practice. We love the insight timer app, which is full of thousands of free mindfulness practices. And I also use for myself, I use an app called relax melodies, where you can put together different, like nature sounds or Zen sounds, and you can curate your own mix and then play it on a timer as you're falling asleep. And that's really helpful for me just to have some sort of background noise to focus on and drown out the, 'what I should have done today and what I need to do tomorrow' in my head.

Melissa Doman (19:07): Well, if I were playing sound that wouldn't necessarily help me, but what I always do is I always journal for a few minutes at the end of the day. So I just get it all out on paper and say, okay, it's all out, you're not going to forget it, but you're going to do it tomorrow. And this is something that I encourage with my parents. A lot of times, yes, we're focusing on the child's sleep, but sometimes parents will open up to me and say 'I have a really hard time winding myself down.' That is a very common recommendation I'll give parents just because again, there's so much to juggle from day to day and sometimes just kind of getting it out and just saying, okay, it's there, but we're going to worry about it tomorrow — it can be very helpful.

Penny Williams (20:03): Yeah. We have to feel good to do good, exactly. But that requires a lot of self care. It's something that I talk a lot about on this podcast and with parents is taking care of ourselves is taking care of our kids. When we feel better, we can do better for other people. And so sleep is a huge, huge piece of that. Fueling our brain, our brain can't work as well the next day if we haven't had enough sleep.

Melissa Doman (20:32): Exactly. For parents, yes. Getting their sleep is crucial. And the thing that I always try and remind my parents is like, look, you work really, really hard. You deserve a little bit of time to yourself. And I think that for, especially for a lot of special needs parents letting themselves off the hook, even if it's just for a little bit can be really, really tough. And I ask parents very specific questions about like, 'how does it feel when you know your child's up at midnight and you have to be with them for hours and hours.' A lot of times parents want to say, 'yeah, it's not only exhausting, but I've kind of lost myself a little bit.' You're always around your kid and it's always about your kid.

Melissa Doman (21:23): And of course that is necessary. But you have to learn when to kind of put that on the back burner and just give yourself a little bit of time and making sure that your child is sleeping well, getting to bed early, this is a very easy way to kind of kill two birds with one stone. Your child's getting their sleep, but you're also getting a little bit of time to yourself and also getting a bit more sleep yourself, hopefully, but it's OK to want that. And you need that. You absolutely do.

Penny Williams (21:59): Yeah. I miss the time when my kids went to bed at 7:30 or eight o'clock, I was always a stickler when my kids were little, we had a set bedtime and a set bedtime routine. That was the one really smart thing I did when they were little. It made a huge difference. And it gave me time then all to myself to just chill. And a lot of parents are then using that time to clean or do chores or whatever. I was not that person. I was like, 'Nope, this is my time to turn my brain off and chill out and start to recoup and rest to be ready for the next day.' So taking advantage of that time, there's always dirty dishes in the sink a little while, things don't have to be perfect, take time for yourself too wherever you can get it, because it's just as important. It's whatever you do for yourself, you're also doing for your kids because you're gonna be able to do better for them.

Melissa Doman (23:02): Absolutely. Absolutely. I can't remember the saying — you can't serve from a glass too empty and pour from an empty cup.

Penny Williams (23:16): From an empty cup. Yeah. And it's so true. It's so true. Let's talk then about strategies for staying asleep or strategies for middle of the night waking.

Melissa Doman (23:29): Perfect. There's a couple things I think that go into this. So a lot of times with my younger kids, so usually under the age of nine, and toddlers I find a lot of times that when a is up in the middle of the night there's definitely something neurological going on. Our sleep does change a little bit. And I think for a lot of kids on the spectrum, a lot of kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD, not always, but a lot making that transition from deep restorative sleep to the not so deep restorative sleep is a very difficult transition. So there's a lot of waking up around that. But something that I find helps a lot is really just making sure that your child is as independent as possible when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep at night.

Melissa Doman (24:26): And very often when I dig a little bit, I ask questions to parents like, okay, so what's really going on in the bedtime routine or how, how are you really handling those nighttime wake ups? Very often the parents are giving a little bit too much help. And similarly to like, if we fall asleep, we fall asleep with our pillow and blanket. If we were to wake up in the middle of the night and those things were gone, we would not only wake up, but we would wake up very quickly and look for them and be kind of distressed like, well, what the heck happened? Like where did they go? So very often when a kid is falling asleep, where they need mom or dad in some way, at the beginning of the night, they're going to be looking for that help in the middle of the night as well.

Melissa Doman (25:12): And we all do wake up, but we all know how to put ourselves back to sleep. And if a child is not quite secure in that ability yet, or they really don't know how to do it, those wake ups are going to be much more aggravated. They're going to be aggravated your child's going to be much more aware. And of course you have that sensory component as well. A lot of these kids are, they're a bit more aware of their environment, there's that kind of flight flight, flight or freeze response, and that's still going at night. So when a child wakes up and they realize they're alone, they need that help. Like that response becomes much bigger and it takes them a lot longer to calm down from it. So long story short the most important thing you can do is just really encourage your child to be as independent as possible as they go to sleep.

Melissa Doman (26:11): And when they wake up in the middle of the night now for some of my older kids, so beyond the age of 10 years old, like they know how to put themselves to sleep. But like I said, there are those nights where they are up at one 30 and it's going to be the long haul. They can't necessarily wind down easily. So what I do is I, I encourage parents to put a list of activities together that the child can do to try and keep their mind off of not sleeping. Because I think a lot of my older kids, they will kind of convince themselves that they're terrible sleepers and they start to get stuck in that loop. And this was something that I learned working with adults and helping them improve their sleep. You have to have some, don't just lie there activities because when you just lie there and you're rolling around for hours trying to get back to sleep, you really can get in a negative space.

Penny Williams (27:14): When I try to sleep and can't, the more angry and frustrated I get. So the more I'm not sleeping.

Melissa Doman (27:20): Yeah, exactly. It's a very vicious cycle and kids will go through that as well. So some of those like quiet activities, I'll say, maybe there's just a little box of Legos or you read books or you do puzzles. And parents, I try and encourage them to get their kid back into bed after about 30 minutes or so try a little bit. But if it's not happening, go back to your don't just lie there activities. But they, the activities have to be just boring enough that they're not so overstimulating.

Penny Williams (27:54): Yeah. I was going to say, you have to put away anything that's going to be a huge distraction that they're going to stay up, access to gaming or things that are extra stimulating and not a good idea. And I know my son would go through the house looking for stuff like that if he woke up during the night. Because that's what he was most interested in doing, whether it was helpful to him at that time or not. So you have to kind of make some boundaries and enforce them with stuff like that too I would think.

Melissa Doman (28:26): Exactly. And that is just a way that parents and kid can kind of meet in the middle. And what parents are saying is, 'look, I'm really sorry. I know you're having a hard time getting to sleep. And I understand that that is difficult. And that's challenging. Here are the things that you can do when you're struggling with your sleep.' And ultimately when you are feeling tired again and you've settled down, you can get back to bed. But at the same time, the kid is also saying, 'alright, I know I'm not trying, I'm not getting back to sleep. This is really frustrating. But look, at least mom said I can do these things,' right. So as you said, like that boundary is really important. And I think that by giving, giving a couple of choices, it gives a little bit of wiggle room and a little bit of freedom, but you're not giving the whole plate, so to speak, of possible activities.

Penny Williams (29:24): Right? One more thing I want to chat about real quickly before we wrap up is getting kids to sleep in their own bed and their own room. I see parents all the time saying I still can't get my kid out of my bed. I've tried this and that. And nothing's working. They try the standard approaches for that. So what are your strategies to help in that scenario?

Melissa Doman (29:42): Well, first of all, I will say that again, what I do when I work with a family, I dig a little bit, dig a little bit. A lot of times parents will try the a hundred walks back and forth between parents room in the kid's room and incentives and this and that. But a lot of times it, it really just kind of boils down to, they've tried a few things, but nothing really was consistent or there wasn't a cohesive strategy. So maybe a couple of nights they did it. Maybe the third night they were just so exhausted. It was like, screw this. All right, we'll try again tomorrow night. But one thing that I have found that really helps is before I make any changes with the kids sleep, I have parents really prepare their child.

Melissa Doman (30:41): So we make the bedtime routine checklist. It is written out with checkboxes, so they know, all right, this is what I gotta do when it's time to really start making that separation and getting the kid out of your bed, I'll write a book and say, okay, Joey, it's time to be a great sleeper. When we sleep, we get this kind of benefit. We do our routine. When Joey is in bed, he has to try and lay down and go to sleep. Mom and dad will check on him from time to time. So it's that social stuff, I guess you could say, social story, but it's a very clear way to say to the child, these are the changes that we're going to make and everything's gonna be fine. And it's, it's a way to kind of give the kid a bird's eye view of the situation.

Melissa Doman (31:29): So they can kind of oversee and say, okay, this is what dad's doing now. Okay, I get it. And ultimately when it comes time to hit the go button, so to speak and say, okay, this is it. He's going to be in his own bed. She's going to be in her own bed. And it's, it's no more coming to parents. I find that with that second attempt, when they have everything written out and it's super clear to the kid it goes a lot more smoothly. I'm not saying that there aren't, there are bumps in the road, but it goes a lot more smoothly and the consistency component of it, it's tough. It's the most challenging part when it comes to making changes with sleep. But what we have to remember is that for any average person, it takes at least three weeks to really learn a new habit and get it solidified.

Melissa Doman (32:26): So if you've tried just walking your child back and forth, you've tried incentives or rules or things like that, you have to keep that in mind that it's going to take more than just a couple of nights, but once you said, okay, this is the change we're going to make, you just got to go all in and just stick with it and it will happen. But like I said, those visuals and having kind of like a step by step, this is what you can expect from mom or dad can be, it can be a game changer when it comes to finally making these changes

Penny Williams (33:01): And teaching kids to fall asleep on their own, I think is a big piece of that struggle too — so often I see parents say, okay, well I went in their room and I laid with them until they fell asleep. So they were in their bed. But then I wake up at three o'clock in the morning and they're in my bed again. And I would say, that's probably because they woke up and didn't know how to put themselves back to sleep.

Melissa Doman (33:24): Exactly, exactly.

Penny Williams (33:27): It's such an easy trap to fall into for parents. Of course, we want to snuggle up with our littles and read them a book and help them fall asleep, and we don't realize that we might be sort of creating a monster. That's going to be really tough to deal with down the road. Right?

Melissa Doman (33:46): You're right. It's kind of a nice way to have that real one-on-one completely disconnected, like no phones, no nothing, close time. But again, like you said, it does start to become a little monster in the sense that if a child really doesn't have that space, just for figuring it out, it can become a big problem down the line. And again, I've worked with enough kids who are 11, 13, 16, who still need that help in some way. And ultimately it's not because they really need it. It's just because they're not sure of themselves yet how to really do it. And you have to give your child that opportunity to figure that out, but in a way that they still feel supported and that you're not completely abandoning them.

Penny Williams (34:43): Yeah. And it can be a tough balance.

Melissa Doman (34:46): Exactly. but it can happen. For a lot of my parents that I work with, they're a little concerned at first, like, okay, is my child really gonna understand this? Or can my child really learn how to do this? And very quickly, once they start to put some of these things into place, they realize, Oh, okay. Yeah, no, they'd completely understand everything. I might've been manipulated for the last couple years. But they see very quickly just how much potential their child has and what their child is capable of doing. And that alone, even if the sleep situation is not 100% perfect in the end that that's a big relief and a big realization for parents to see, okay, yes, my child can do this and they can finally be independent with something. And that's a huge thing to celebrate for any kid regardless of their diagnosis.

Penny Williams (35:48): Yeah, for sure. And so often I know that my kids can do something, but they don't know yet. They're not confident yet. And that's what we're trying to impart. We have to show them. So often they have to experience it, us saying, I know you can do this, doesn't really make them feel better. Most of the time they have to experience that and feel comfortable with that. And there's so much of that process really depends on that. And, undoing habits is a lot harder than creating habits in the first place that are healthy starting out as young as possible with these good sleep habits will help everybody in the house get better sleep for a long time.

Melissa Doman (36:33): Yeah. And, the sleep for the family, not just your child is huge. For those people who are listening, I've put together some videos just to outline really the foundations of what I teach my families day in and day out. And I'm happy to say that a lot of parents have just taken this information from the videos and have made some really great changes when it comes to their child's sleep, but also their sleep or their family sleep. So yeah, there's a lot of very simple things. But very powerful things you can do to really start helping your child get the rest they need.

Penny Williams (37:18): Yeah. And I will link that up in the show notes as well. All of that will be in the show notes for you to take advantage of and to connect and learn more from Melissa. And those show notes for this episode are found at parentingadhdandautism.com/091. I really appreciate you being here with us, Melissa and sharing a little bit of your time and wisdom with the audience.

Melissa Doman (37:59): Well, thank you, Penny. And thank you so much for the opportunity and anybody and everybody listening to this, I wish you all much better well-rested tonight moving forward.

Penny Williams (38:12): Good sleep for all. Yes. And I think that wraps up. I will see everybody on the next episode.

Outro (38:19): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama retreats at parentingadhdandautism.com.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That’s what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

Pinpoint the
Help You Need
right now

Take my free quiz to cut through the overwhelm and get focused on the information and resources that will help you and your child RIGHT NOW.

free video series
Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.



Makes time visual for those with time blindness.


Blends gaming with off-screen activities to teach coping skills through play.


Manage chores and routines while building self-confidence and independence.


A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Start Typing