By Catherine Griffin
Although most parents may associate bedwetting with preschool age children that just completed the potty-training process, they are unaware that bedwetting is also more of a common problem for school-age children then many might think. Approximately one out of eight children in first and second-grade still wet their beds and it is an embarrassing secret that children and parents feel they are carrying around. Some statistics even go as far as to say that one in twenty 10-year-olds still wet their beds. If your child is struggling with the same issue, then bedwetting can make them feel embarrassed and insecure. Many parents want to know how to help their child stop wetting the bed so we’ve listed some strategies below that can help.
Don’t get angry upset with your child
It’s not like your child wets their bed because they find it funny. They are probably feeling even worse than you are about the issue, so practice patience and show empathy. You also want to talk to your children about the matter, instead of pretending it’s non-existent, and you want to tell them that they’re not the only children going through this issue. When the blame and shame go away, so does the pressure, which will only make it easier to stop.
Reward the child
Instead of punishing your child you want to reward them when they do have a dry night, this works a lot better. You could create a chart and give them a gold sticker for each dry night, then they can get a special treat (that you both decide together on) for a certain amount of stickers. This doesn’t work for all children, but it can work on subconscious level for some.
Schedule their bathroom breaks
For children it can be hard to know when to go to the bathroom, so you can steadily teach them by putting them on a bathroom schedule. You could make them go to the bathroom every two or three hours, and before bedtime of course. This way it will be more habit forming and they will starting doing it themselves as a routine.
Mention the problem to the pediatrician
Sometimes parents do not mention the bedwetting issue to their doctor in fear that it will embarrass your child or the parent, but this is a mistake. Your pediatrician can offer solutions for your child and can track progress. There could possibly be a medical explanation for the bedwetting (i.e a urinary tract infection), so always talk to the pediatrician.
Urinary Bed Alarms
Urinary bed alarms are often dubbed the most effective way to stop bedwetting. The alarms include a moisture detector along with an alarm that wakes the child up as soon as even a small amount of moist is detected. The child will then go to the bathroom and will soon enough learn to feel for themselves when they need to go.
Eliminate certain drinks and foods
There are certain substances that can irritate the bladder of your child and can cause bedwetting. For example Caffeine (including chocolate milk and cocoa) should not be given to your child before bedtime, nor should they have artificial flavorings, sweeteners or citrus juices which can also wreak havoc on the bladder. You can start with eliminating these drinks to see if it helps.
Constipation could be an issue
One in three children have problems with constipation at some point and since the rectum is right behind the bladder it can influence this as well. Children are not quick to talk about these issues, so ask them about it, or check to see if they are going to the bathroom during the day. Adding fiber to the diet will also definitely help.
When you’re working with some of these solutions, or all of them, you will be sure to eventually find one that will help you and your child. The most important thing is not to stress out as in most cases the problem will eventually disappear on its own as the child gets older. So, make sure to show your child some empathy and know that everything will be okay.