Bedwetting. It’s a phase that many children go through. While it is frustrating for the parents and embarrassing for the child, bedwetting (known medically as nocturnal enuresis) something that isn’t always indicative of negative things going on with your child.
These five tips will help you get your child through his or her bedwetting phase without becoming emotionally scarred by the process.
1. Do – Consider What is Going on in Your Child’s Life
Sometimes, bedwetting is brought on by sudden changes in your child’s life. This is especially the case when a child suddenly begins wetting the bed after being completely dry at night for six months or longer.
Some of the changes that can lead to a sudden onset of nighttime bedwetting include new stresses in your child’s life, such as any of the following:
- Divorcing parents
- New school
- Moving to a new city
- New baby in the house
- Death in the family
These instances aren’t always things that can be fixed, but they are things you can talk through with your child and that may require counseling or professional intervention to address.
2. Do – Focus on Behavioral Changes That Might Eliminate Bedwetting
There are certain behaviors that can increase the likelihood that children will wet their beds. By changing those behaviors, you can help reduce the odds of your child wetting the bed at night. Behavioral changes you might want to adopt include the following:
- Discourage your child from drinking liquids after dinner. Encourage water earlier during the day so children are properly hydrated and do not drink excessively in the evening.
- Reduce caffeine intake.
- Encourage your child to urinate frequently before going to bed.
- Leave a nightlight in your child’s room and the bathroom so that fear of the dark doesn’t become a hindrance for going to the bathroom at night.
- Keeping a consistent sleeping cycle.
- Using an alarm that notifies you when moisture is detected on the pad.
- Consider going back to afternoon naps if your child isn’t taking them to ensure he or she is getting adequate sleep each day.
These behavioral changes can help your child make it through the night with fewer accidents, so everyone rests easier.
3. Do – Consider Talking to Your Physician
Bedwetting may be a symptom of a potentially serious medical condition. That is why it is important to discuss the problem with your pediatrician – especially if your child is over the age of six and has suddenly started wetting the bed after being dry for several months.
Some of the conditions bedwetting could signify, according to Cleveland Clinic, include diabetes, urinary tract infections (though rare in children), and sleep apnea. All of these conditions require medical attention to treat and can be quite serious if left untreated.
More importantly, your doctor may have suggestions for helping your child overcome this bedwetting stage. Don’t worry too much, though, the University of Michigan reports that 15 percent of kids who bed wet manage to become dry each year without any type of treatment to help them along.
4. Don’t – Punish Your Child for Wetting the Bed
This could have the direct opposite effect of what you’re going for by causing more stress, potentially making your child wet the bed more frequently. Instead, be encouraging and offer positive reinforcements through rewards and incentives for not having accidents rather than punishment.
One study, published in Science Direct, revealed that punishment for bedwetting resulted in a reduced quality of life and childhood depression. In addition, children in the study group who received punishment for wetting the bed, ended up wetting the bed more frequently than those who weren’t punished.
Avoid resorting to diapers or pull-ups unless your child requests them as this may cause unnecessary humiliation to your child. Consider having a trusted family member who had a similar problem talk with your child, but avoid speaking openly about it among family.
5. Don’t – Forget Your Child’s Bladder is Small and Will Grow in Time Too
Your child may be becoming a mighty big boy or girl and able to do many new and exciting things around the house and in school. But, he or she is still growing. His or her body is changing fast. Sometimes, all the pieces and parts might have a hard time keeping up with the changes that are taking place. Night time bedwetting becomes a temporary problem until the bladder catches up to the other changes going on.
Our children grow up so fast and this, too, will pass. Make it a defining moment in your relationship by offering love and encouragement, rather than displaying disappointment and disapproval. These solutions will help you get a handle on the situation before it gets out of hand, as well.