Talking to your child about bedwetting is a very important part of handling bedwetting as a family. Here are a few tips on what to say and how to say it, what not to say, and how to build your child's confidence:
Choose a good time to talk. Find a time when you and your child are relaxed and have nothing scheduled. Talk to your child privately so they aren't embarrassed around other family members. Later, if your child is comfortable with this, you can have a family conversation so that everyone understands the condition. If your child has siblings, explain that it's important not to tease about bedwetting.
Use a calm, relaxed voice and body language. Non-verbal communication plays a huge role in the message you give to your child. Try to speak in a relaxed, matter-of-fact way.
Don't scold or blame your child. Bedwetting is not your child's fault, so scolding will not help. There's a good chance that your child already feels embarrassed about it. Try to avoid saying things like "You need to try harder not to wet the bed" and "You wet the bed again?"
Give your child facts and reassurance. Here are few things you can say to help your child understand bedwetting and to help build their confidence. You can use these words or adjust them to fit your child's needs:
- Bedwetting is not your fault. It happens when kids sleep so deeply that they don't wake up in time to pee, or when they have small bladders that can't hold their pee all night long.
- Bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed of. About 1 in 6 five-year-olds and 1 in 12 eight-year-olds wet the bed. That means that at least a few of your friends probably do too. (If you or someone else in your family wet the bed, share this with your child. It will help them feel less alone.)
- Bedwetting doesn't mean that you can't do things like sleepovers and summer camp. There are ways to manage bedwetting. To stay dry at night, you can wear nighttime underwear (they are different from baby diapers or training pants because they are for older kids). There are also other treatments such as medications and bedwetting alarms.
- Bedwetting will go away over time. You will grow out of it.
- Remember that I will be there for you, to help you and if you want to talk.
When you reassure your child and provide the facts, you help build their confidence so you can manage bedwetting together.