I have an 11 yr old who has never been much of a sleeper. she's very creative and fairly disorganized. I, too, am not great at staying on schedules, or being disciplined about them. we've tried all kinds of things but the problems remain - what tends to happen is several things...
- she drags her feet to do the things that must be done before bed (straighten up her stuff in the living room), brush teeth, contacts out, get bad packed for school in the morning, etc.
- then once in her room she tends to get a burst of creative expression and starts drawing or playing or doing some sort of project (sometimes this happens after 'lights out', and when i get up to go to the bathroom at 1030 or so, i see her light on and find her reading, or drawing or something).
- then when it's time for me to read to her she always asks me to read longer, and then we end up talking for longer than I want, or we had planned
- then she starts her reading to herself time and that usually gets doubled from the 30 minutes she says she needs/ wants
- then right before lights out - often is hungry or thirsty and there's a trip to the kitchen
so, instead of lights out and sleep happening at 930 - it's 11 and that's simply NOT enough sleep for her. she's tired in the morning and this also effects her immune system. And all of this goes on with me trying to corral her into bed and stay on target. this often leaves me a bit overwhelmed, or exasperated, and exhausted myself. then i get to bed late too.
she is not motivated or interested in tackling the problem, but will admit it is a problem.
i've tried many things but could use some fresh ideas. i've moved her room from a different level of the house, to my room's level, so i could monitor better what she's doing. I have talked with her about it and the importance of sleep. i've tried to get her to bed earlier so that she has time for all of the things she likes to do once 'bed time' arrives - but that gets so early - that then she misses out of family time, or wouldn't have time for all of her homework and such. i've done sleepy herbs. she listens to guided imagery after lights out (that part works well). I've tried a little of giving the consequence that if you don't get lights out on time then you go to bed earlier tomorrow. but nothing seems to be helping at the core of the problem. i suspect it's my leniency that is really worsening the problem - but i know it's her (and my) nature. but i really want her to have the benefit of a good nights sleep and of being able to manage and have control over her life so that she can function better.