So, you feel a small hand shaking your shoulder and groggily you see a small forlorn figure by the side of the bed. With a barely audible voice, your child says that they’ve wet the bed.
You close your eyes, wish it was 5 am and everything’s the way it should be. After all, the day that’s just passed has been a manic one.
But. You feel the hand on your shoulder again, and reality hits. Pushing the spread aside, you shake off all traces of sleepiness and get to work. Now the question of the moment- it’s the first time that your kid has wet the bed. Surely emotions must be running gamut in that little head of theirs.
The best thing to do when your kid has wet the bed is, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, to be honest, and involved in the moment.
Here are 4 things that you could do in the minutes that follow.
1. Tell the truth about bed wetting
Having graduated from potty-training, your child may feel a little perplexed that their body doesn’t work the same way in the night. Chat to them about how it was beyond what they could do but that this was a result of the body just following instruction from the brain and they were not awake to be the filter.
It might also help if you add that some of their playmates or kindy-mates go through the same problem of bedwetting. If your other kids have also gone through bedwetting, share them with your child. Reassure them everything will work out in the end.
2. Pay attention to what they say
While chatting, encourage them to share any emotions or issues they might be experiencing as a result of them wetting their bed. Then, work your way through major points. It doesn’t have to end when everything’s sorted out. If there’s something that was brought up you don’t know the answer to, check with your doctor and get back to your child when you can.
3. Let them be your bedwetting elf
Show your child how to look after themselves by letting them help you clean up. This is not a negative exercise but a positive one as they know what to do if and when it happens again. For the future, you could also put a plastic sheet in between the mattress and bedsheet. Show your kid how to clean them up too. However, if you sense refusal, don’t push it. The aim should be getting the mattress and bedsheets sorted out. Your kid should also understand that bedwetting is not a big issue.
4. Think two steps ahead to prevent bedwetting
At least half an hour before your kid goes to sleep, encourage him to not drink any liquids anymore. Of course, if he’s thirsty, don’t let him wake up the next day dehydrated. But encourage the no-drink rule as much as possible. Also, make it a practise that they go to the toilet just before they nod off. This may help with the bladder being too full during the night.
Another thing to note is that your child is a human being (with feelings) and may prefer not to talk about this in front of family members. If it’s their wish, parents should refrain from talking about this with anyone else (maybe not the doctor, though).
Also, like any other “performance” related activity, if your child makes it through the night without wetting the bed, show them that you are proud of them. It could be a hug before they go to school or a surprise treat in their lunch. Make it clear why, though. Here are some tips for prevention.