The Importance of a Bedtime Routine to Help with Bedwetting for Kids with ADHD & Autism

Aug 31, 2023 | 5 Minutes Read

Childs bedroom

Bedtime routines are important for all children, but those with ADHD and Autism greatly benefit from the structure and opportunity to decompress from sensory stimuli before bed. In addition, many families have found some success with using a bedtime routine to help with bedwetting.

To understand why bedtime routines are so important and how they can help with bedwetting, we sought advice from a panel of Autism and ADHD experts—Dr. Kerry Magro Ed.D. member of the Autism Society of America’s Council of Autistic Advisors, and CEO & President of KFM Making a Difference, Anne S. Holmes M.S.,C.C.C.,B.C.B.A. A Member of the Autism Society’s Panel of Professional Advisors and Vice President of KDH Enterprises, LLC. Jack Scott, PhD, BCBA-D Chair of the Autism Society’s Panel of Professional Advisors and Executive Director at FAU Center for Autism Related Disabilities, and Dr. Sasha Hamdani MD, Psychiatrist and ADHD expert—who also shared practical advice for implementing a bedtime routine for your child.

Why are bedtime routines so important for kids with ADHD and Autism?

According to Dr. Jack Scott, “Routines help address what is a very strong need for predictability on the part of children with ADHD and Autism.”

Dr. Kerry Magro noted, “more than 1/2 of Autistic children have one or more sleep challenges,” so having a routine in place can help to create a structure that helps kids understand when it’s time for bed – even when they may not feel normal cues for sleepiness. This in turn can ease anxiety, stress, and sensory overload before bed.

Dr. Magro continued, “I can’t say enough about how important a routine is for kids when it comes to a strong bedtime. It helps with their well-being and can help with things like sensory challenges, helping them be more alert to the world around them. During my Autism journey two of the most important things my parents did for me was nurture my strengths and make sure I had a solid routine.”

What should a bedtime routine for kids with ADHD & Autism include?

All experts emphasized that just like every child is different, bedtime routines will differ depending on what works for your family. According to Anne S. Holmes, “you should start with setting a time to begin the routine each night, so that it can serve as a warning that bedtime is approaching. Then your routine can include: a shower or bath if it’s soothing to your child, a change into pajamas, teeth brushing, a calming activity like reading or listening to music, and finally lights off, and parents or caregivers out of the room.”

In addition, Dr. Kerry Magro added, “While neurodiverse is truly a spectrum, those in the community may also benefit from reward systems, a social story, visual schedule, weighted blankets or other types of material objectives or strategies to help with bedtime.”

How can a bedtime routine help with bedwetting?

“These same types of routines around bedwetting are first cousins to bedtime routines,” Dr. Jack Scott noted. And it seems the majority of caregivers agree. In Goodnites®, proprietary Landmark Study, we found that 79% of parents of kids with ADHD and/or Autism who wet the bed use a bedtime routine to help with bedwetting.

Our experts shared different strategies you can try to incorporate into your bedtime routine to see what works for your child:

Add steps to your bedtime routine
“Some things that can be included in a bedtime bedwetting routine are Goodnites® bedwetting underwear and making sure your child goes to the bathroom before bed.” – Dr. Sasha Hamdani

Start a sleep diary
“Parents or caregivers can consider establishing a sleep diary, and writing down when the bedwetting occurs. With that, [you] can look at any triggers that may lead to the bedwetting, for example, a loud noise in the middle of the night that leads to sensory challenges where a child may wet their bed.” - Dr. Kerry Magro

Incorporate Goodnites® Bedwetting Underwear
“One of the great things about super absorbent bedwetting underwear like Goodnites® is that they can help eliminate the soaked bed linens. Changing a bed in the middle of the night is one of the things that parents hate the most.” – Anne S. Holmes

Awesome Days Start With Goodnites®

It’s important to remember that while bedwetting is challenging in the moment, most kids will eventually grow out of it with age. So don’t let wet sheets stand in the way of an awesome day for your family – whatever that looks like for you.
Add Goodnites® to your kid’s bedtime routine to help them wake up dry. When kids wear Goodnites® bedwetting underwear, they can have up to 100% leak-free nights.
Anne S. Holmes said it best when she said, “And waking up dry should be celebrated!”