“For my child to sleep better tonight”In this example, it is hard to define what ‘sleep better’ may mean. It can therefore be hard to identify how you will help your child achieve this goal. Instead, break this down into a more specific behaviour for your child at bedtime. For example:
“For my child to go to sleep after being bid goodnight”This goal allows you to specifically identify what your child should do to achieve their sleep goal. 5. How will you measure your child’s sleep goal? Without a measurable mastery criteria, it can be difficult to know when a goal is met. An example of a non-measurable mastery criteria would be:
“For my child to sleep consistently”Consistency in sleep is an important aim, however it is not measurable so it would not be possible to know when this goal has been reached. Instead, let’s make this goal something we can count, such as:
“For my child to go to sleep within 30 minutes of being bid goodnight”6. Is this goal attainable for your child? Goals should be realistic. By setting aims we cannot reach, we would be setting ourselves up for failure. Instead, when designing goals for your child’s sleep, consider:
“For my child to go to sleep within 30 minutes of being bid goodnight, most nights”It will be difficult to identify when this goal has been met. Instead, be specific about the time frame expected for the goal, such as:
“For my child to go to sleep within 30 minutes of being bid goodnight, every night for 2 consecutive weeks”By creating individualised, measurable aims in line with your child and family’s values, you can make achievable goals for your child’s sleep! Resources: www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/pdfs/Sleep-Needs-Across-Lifespan.pdf
Disclaimer: The advice in this article is general in nature. If your child experiences sleep difficulties, reach out to a trusted professional for further individualised advice and support.
Super Kids acknowledges each individual’s personal preference to use identity-first or person-first language to describe themselves or their loved one. We interchangeably use both language conventions and therefore refer to both autistic children and children with autism.