Bedwetting: help for the holidays
Ah, the holidays - a time for family fun and celebration! But families affected by bedwetting can face some unique holiday challenges.
Here's how bedwetting can add stress to the already stressful holiday season: waking up in a wet bed can be an upsetting experience for your child. It also adds extra work for parents, such as washing sheets and pyjamas and bathing your child more frequently. Concerns about your child's bedwetting can also affect how or if you make holiday travel plans.
But it doesn't have to be this way. There are many coping strategies that can help your family deal with bedwetting.
Medications: Medications such as desmopressin can help your child stay dry at night. They work by mimicking a chemical messenger in your body that controls the amount of urine your child produces during sleep. The bladder does not fill up as quickly, which helps prevent the child from wetting the bed.
This medication starts to work on the first night it is taken, and can be used for children aged 5 years and older. It is taken one hour before bedtime, and can be used on an ongoing basis or for "special occasions" such as sleepovers or holiday travel. The medication's possible side effects include headache and mild nausea. Keep in mind that in order for the medication to work as well as possible, limit the fluids that your child drinks after dinner.
Bedwetting alarms: A bedwetting alarm is worn at night and makes a loud sound like a smoke alarm when your child begins to wet the bed. Alarms are used to train your child to get up and use the washroom before they wet the bed.
For bedwetting alarms to work properly, children and parents must be prepared to be woken up at night. Alarms work best for older children and require commitment from the whole family. Have patience - it takes about a month or two for bedwetting alarms to demonstrate improvement.
Other coping strategies:
- Encourage your child to use the toilet right before bed, and let them know that it's okay to get up at night if they need to use the toilet again. This alone will not stop bedwetting.
- Get your child involved in the morning cleanup to help them feel more empowered to deal with waking up wet. Be sure to make it clear to the child that this is not a punishment.
- Don't punish your child for wetting the bed. Bedwetting is not the child's fault.
There are many ways for your family to cope with bedwetting. Speak to your doctor to find out which ones are right for you, and how to get started.
Bedwetting: planning a holiday visit
Bedwetting can put a damper on holiday travel. If your child feels embarrassed when they wake up wet at home, imagine how they'll feel if they wet the bed at a friend or relative's house!
You or your bedwetting child may feel it's harder to clean up discreetly when you need to borrow your host's washing machine, or that bedwetting alarms could disturb the people you are staying with. And even if your child stays dry, fears of wetting the bed may spoil their enjoyment of the trip or may make them reluctant to go.
So how can you make your holiday trip fun for everyone? Here are a few survival tips:
- Speak to your child's doctor about bedwetting treatment options for bedwetting.
- The holidays are a time for special foods and snacks. However, remind your child to limit the amount of fluid that they drink after supper.
- Help your child feel less embarrassed: reassure them that it's not their fault, don't punish them for wetting the bed or turn bedwetting into a "big deal," reassure them that eventually the problem will stop, teach them how to clean up, and let them know you are always there if they want to talk.
- If you'll be staying with family members during the holidays, you may wish to speak to them about bedwetting and how your family is handling it. If family members are aware of this, they can avoid embarrassing the child and help the rest of the family cope.
Don't let bedwetting keep you and your family from enjoying your holiday vacation! Talk to your child's doctor about bedwetting coping strategies.
Bedwetting: taming holiday stress
Is holiday stress getting your family down? Families coping with bedwetting can have added stress, so try these tips to bring back the joy.
1. Think of three things you love about the holidays. Maybe it's making a snowman with your kids, visiting grandparents, or looking at the holiday lights. Make time for these things and book them into your calendar! If concerns about bedwetting are getting in the way of your family's travel plans, effective treatments are available. Speak to your child's doctor to find out more.
2. Think of three things you don't love about the holidays. Look for ways to avoid or work around them. For example, you may be able to shop for gifts online or simplify your holiday party planning, or say "no" to those holiday events you dread.
3. See through your child's eyes. Children are very perceptive, and often pick up on the stress their parents are feeling. Think about how holiday stress, including stress around bedwetting, could be affecting your child. Reassure your child that bedwetting and any stress it may cause are not the child's fault. Try not to overreact to bedwetting - instead, deal with it calmly.
4. Plan ahead. It's easy for the holidays to take over your time, your health, and your budget. Plan ahead and set limits for how much you'll spend on holiday gifts, how many holiday events you can attend in a single weekend, and how many houseguests you can entertain. Planning ahead is especially important for family trips. Book early and start packing all the essentials ahead of time.
5. Take care of yourself and get help if you need it. As a parent, you're often thinking of the needs of others. But don't forget about you! Set aside some "alone time" to recharge - even 15 minutes can be enough to help you stay calm. Make sure you get enough sleep, and enjoy food and alcohol in moderation. If you feel sad or anxious, notice changes in your sleeping patterns, lose interest in things you used to enjoy, or feel hopeless, speak to your doctor for help. If bedwetting is affecting your family during the holidays, speak to your child's doctor about how it can be managed.
With these tips, you and your family can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!
Bedwetting: family success stories
Struggling with bedwetting this holiday season? You're not alone. Get inspired by these stories of how other families have coped.
Alice and Paul* were worried about their holiday trip to visit Alice's mom. Their 6-year-old son, Jack, was still wetting the bed. Every time someone mentioned the trip, Jack said he didn't want to go. Jack was still embarrassed after last year, when he wet the bed at grandma's house and everyone found out. Alice and Paul were worried about what they would do if Jack wet the bed again during the trip, what they would say to Alice's mother, how they could help Jack enjoy the trip, and whether they should even go.
They spoke to Jack's doctor about managing bedwetting. Jack's doctor suggested trying desmopressin tablets. Before the trip, Jack tried a couple of different doses to find the dose that worked for him. Now that he had a treatment, Jack decided he'd like to go on the trip after all. Jack took his medication during the trip and stayed dry, and the whole family enjoyed their visit.
Sharon,* a 38-year-old mother of two, was getting more and more stressed as the holiday season approached. Her 11-year-old son Michael was still wetting the bed, even though his 8-year-old sister Susan had stopped years ago. Lately Sharon had been finding balled-up rolls of urine-stained clothing hidden in Michael's closet. Once she found him trying to wash his sheets and pyjamas in the sink. Michael was terrified that Susan would find out and start teasing him, or tell his friends.
Michael's doctor taught Sharon and Michael about bedwetting and the treatment options available. Sharon sat down with both of her kids to have a frank talk about bedwetting. With Michael, she explained that bedwetting was not his fault, it was nothing to be ashamed about, and that he would probably grow out of it in time. She taught Michael how to use the washing machine so he could handle the cleanup on his own. She explained to Susan that everyone has different challenges, and that Michael's challenge was staying dry throughout the night. She and Susan agreed that Susan would not tease Michael or tell about his bedwetting, and Sharon praised Susan for being so grown up and helping her brother. Now Michael feels more confident and less ashamed about his bedwetting.
Do these stories sound familiar? If your family is having bedwetting issues, speak to your child's doctor to find out how it can be managed. Effective treatments are available.
* These family stories are hypothetical stories based on clinical research and the combined experience of families affected by bedwetting.