Hello there! Today, I am going to share with you my tips on how to manage childhood bed wetting in Autism in FIVE MINUTES.
First off, let’s talk about what are the causes of toddler and school bed wetting.
Did you know that bedwetting is a very common thing in childhood? In fact, 20% of all children under the age of 5 bed wet at some point. Children tend to grow out of it and only 1% are still bed wetting by the age of 15.
But what about Autism?
We know that stress levels are high in Autism. The average autistic child feels the same amount of anxiety first thing in the morning as a neuro-typical child feels in the middle of a school day. Many autistic children experience high levels of anxiety in everyday life. Meaning bedwetting can be a very frustrating problem for parents.
So, next, let’s tackle some common myths;
- Bed wetting is attention seeking behaviour; Rubbish. Bed wetting is uncontrollable for the child. They wouldn’t do it, if they could control it.
- It doesn’t run in families; Yes, it does. It can be hereditary.
- Kids bed wet because they are lazy: wrong again. It is uncontrolled and happens. The last reason it happens is laziness.
- Kids can control it consciously. Well, it’s hard to believe that some people still think that way…
Next, let’s look at TWO important things you must NEVER do:
NEVER make your child clean it up – this will only make them feel worse. Bed wetting is not bad behaviour and so therefore, cannot be managed this way.
NEVER tease or scold a child for wetting the bed. It’s no one’s fault that it happens.
Okay, so what CAN we do about it? Well, there are lots of ways we can tackle bed wetting. First off, reassure your child that they are safe, not naughty for doing it and that they are comforted and loved. Do this, and you are half way there to solving the problem.
Avoid late night drinks especially ones that contain caffeine. And late night snacks too. Also, it might be worth avoiding your child going to the toilet twice before bed. Once before preparation for bed and again just before they get into bed. It might sound like a good idea to ensure that their bladder is truly empty but this will only encourage their bladder to relax so that it could wee accidentally after the child has fallen asleep.
Check to see if it’s a medical problem. Contact your GP or doctor if your child has been dry for six months prior to bed wetting, particularly if they are over the age of 7, as it may be an infection like a UTI (urinary tract infection.) Ask your child if they feel a burning sensation when they wee. This sometimes it’s good indicator of an infection. Also, note if they are wetting themselves during the day. If they are school age, check with their teacher to make sure there isn’t anything stressful going on in school that you might not know about.
Once you see your GP, he will ask you about home life, family background and so to eliminate any stress that could be causing the bed wetting. Don’t forget, that children can easily pick up stresses felt by another member of the household.
Your GP may offer medication to help your child sleep like Melatonin (you can find out more about Melatonin from our video here.) Or you might like to try some herbal remedies but check with your doctor first before giving these to your child.
Consider a mattress protector and even a moisture alarm which you can buy from Amazon. These are alarms, like baby monitors, which will alert you to any wetness in your child’s bed. This will encourage your child to get up and go to the bathroom, as you can wake them in time. You might also like to try waking your child up in the middle of the night to see if they want to go to the toilet.
Night plug in night lights to show a way to the bathroom if your house is very dark at night. Children fear the dark sometimes and this could be what’s stopping them from getting up and going to the loo.
If you want to find out more about bedwetting, you will love our video.
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