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For some strange reason a child wetting the bed at night is towards the top of most parent’s list of dreads. In truth, wetting the bed is as normal a part of growing up as cutting your first tooth or taking those first tentative steps. The problem sets in because of the pressure we apply to the situation. Think on, at Mother and toddler groups you hear about babies first steps, outside nursery classes you all discuss progress with this and that but as they get older and start to face the challenge of sleeping through the night and staying dry the subject is rarely discussed. It’s no wonder we feel pressure to deal with the problem.

It’s such a shame that social taboos seem to get in the way of sharing ideas and experiences because all children face challenges in the dry night department. Learning bladder control is just another part of growing up. You wouldn’t expect a two year old to have all the manual dexterity required to write beautiful copperplate script so why do we expect them to sleep dry and stay dry?

So the first thing you can do to stop your child wetting the bed at night is stop stressing about it. Until you can treat any incident as just another event your anxiety will transfer to your child who will feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed and any number of other negative feelings.

If your child is learning the skills of staying dry there are a number of things you can do to help the process along. Trips to the loo in the hour before bed and immediately before getting into bed mean empty bladders and cutting down of the amount of drink consumed after getting home from school will also help. If they are thirsty, then small drinks will be just as thirst quenching.

If your child appears to be having a problem progressing towards dry nights, and in reality only 50% of children are completely dry by the age of nine. It is also a documented fact that 40% of children who have parents who suffered from the problem themselves will have difficulties getting dry and staying that way. One of the best things you can do for your own child is to look at your own experiences and if you can’t remember then ask an honest question of your own parents. If there is a family history you might find a trip to your doctor in order because nocturnal enuresis (yes it has its own name) is a recognised condition. Indeed, don’t forget that that it is one of the most common paediatric health problems so you most definitely are not alone.

A trip to your GP is a great place to start because they can offer all sorts of advice on strategies for dealing with the problem. You should also take comfort from the view that many GPs will regarding the problem as one that will be grown out of and will be able to offer you advice on how to help move through this phase in growing up. The most important thing to remember is that whilst you may not be able to stop them wetting the bed you should be able to stop them getting upset by the occurrence which will only prolong the situation.


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