A few days I bought a Fitbit (for me!!!) but like everything shiny and new in our house it caught the eye of Sara and yesterday she asked if she could “try it on”. I am aware that is really code for “I’m about to own this, sorry about your luck”. Yesterday was a rough day for her so I happily handed it over hoping to brighten her day and maybe motivate her to get out of bed and move around a bit.
Now I am kicking myself that I didn’t think to get her one earlier!!
First, for a child who struggles with time it is a built in “reminder” she just flips her wrist and it tells her the time and date. No more asking – What day is it? What time is it? What day is tomorrow? Voila – instant independence!
Second, it has motivated her to think about how much she is moving. At times her fatigue is debilitating and anything that inspires her to get up and be active is a winner in my book. She is fairly competitive so I think she will try to earn the badges etc.
Third, and my favorite reason, is this:
It tracks her sleep!!! Let me explain WHY this is so amazing for me:
Kids with SPD tend not to sleep well. They might be tired all day but then they are wide awake in the evening. They either take forever to fall asleep and/or they wake up multiple times throughout the night. That’s why all us SPD moms are so tired! Now that Sara is older she just gets up and reads when she wakes at 2:00am and turns her light off when she is finally tired. Which is great, but it means that I am out of the loop and have no idea in the morning if she can be woken at the normal time or if she needs to sleep in for an extra hour or so.
Getting an SPD kid out the door for school is NOT EASY. Clothing tags and sock seams can derail an outfit. That pesky inability to stay focused and remember what needs to be done can really damage a morning time-line. When they are overtired all of the problems are magnified and it doesn’t take much to send them into chaos.
Last year I decided to stop the madness and let her sleep in on the mornings that I knew she needed the additional sleep. It made getting out the door so much easier and it made her a more focused and alert student in class. I used to wake her at 7:00 am (to accommodate all that can go wrong) and we still rarely made it to school for 9:00am. Usually I dropped off an agitated and tired kid who just occupied a place in the class and never really learned much.
When I started to let her sleep until 8:00am the mornings ran so much smoother! She was less distracted, less prone to getting overwhelmed by sensory input and we often made it to school at the same time and sometimes earlier! In addition, I was now dropping off a relaxed, rested child who stood a much better chance at learning.
Now, with the Fitbit, I just check the app to see how she slept. If there is a big period of time that she was awake I let her sleep in and if not, I begin the ritual to slowly bring her awake. No more second guessing if she did or didn’t get enough sleep. No more waking her to have her burst into tears and tell me that she was up all night and didn’t fall asleep until 5am. Now I just log on and look! This is a product that I highly recommend!