Bed wetting (nocturnal enuresis) is a common childhood problem. Approximately 1 in 12 children wet the bed at 4 and half years of age. However, due to foster children often having more troubled backgrounds, wetting the bed is (with foster kids) more common. Many parents feel they can’t talk to friends about bed wetting because they worry it will make them look bad as parents. SO, as a result they delay looking for help and advice; which is not the solution.
Bed wetting can be in many cases a very upsetting subject for the child. Some kids constantly worry about the issue, because they feel it makes them look immature. This inhibits their social interaction in many ways. Partly because they feel they can’t talk to foster parents as much (due to the risk of bed wetting coming up), and partly because they avoid certain activities in which bed wetting may be a problem-like camping and sleepovers.
Approximately 90% of kids reach the age of 5 without being dry for a long period of time. This is known as Primary Enuresis. The other 10% of children have suffered a re occurrence of bed wetting after being dry for a long time, this is called Secondary Enuresis. Secondary Enuresis is linked with stressful events in a child’s life such as family upsets or the death of a loved one. And, because foster children often go through more stress than the average child, Secondary Enuresis is more common among foster kids.
Factors Effecting Bed wetting
There are many factors that are associated with bed wetting. The hereditary factor is one of them: children with parents who wet the bed in youth may take more time to achieve permanent dryness. Another factor is daytime wetting: It is important to consider if the child has a health issue which may cause him/her to go to the toilet more, such as an overactive bladder. If the child needs to go to the toilet frequently with an urgent desire, and the child goes on average more than 8 times a day- an overactive bladder may be the cause. This in turn may cause the child to wet the bed.
Tips for Curing Bed Wetting
- 1. Increase fluid intake by day. Many children have resolved bed wetting this way, as increasing fluid intake by day improves the bladder capacity.
- 2. DO NOT restrict fluids. If you are trying to avoid bed wetting by stopping the child drinking, this is not the way to go. It is absolutely crucial for growing children to have six to eight water based drinks per day to stay healthy.
- 3. Congratulate and praise your kids. Make sure you give your child praise when the opportunity arises. For example, If the child remembers to go to the toilet before bed, don’t for get to give him/her a pat on the back! Children need encouragement to move forward.
- 4. Avoid certain drinks that are known to cause more urine production. Examples are cola, blackcurrant juice and caffeinated drinks.
If at any point you think your child’s bed wetting habits are not getting any better after the age of 6, it may be wise to refer him/her to your local Enuresis Clinic for an assessment to determine a plan of care. Bed wetting is a completely normal thing for children, and often is only a stage. And most importantly- do not rush to your GP after your child wets the bed once. It is completely natural, and nothing to worry about in most cases.
For more specific information go to the NHS website