General tips for teachers and parents
In Causes we describe some of the most common kinds of bladder weakness in children and in this section we share professional tips to help with those specific types. However, if you are unsure of the cause of your child’s bladder weakness, we do advise that you talk to a healthcare professional who will usually be able to give a diagnosis from asking a few simple questions.
What will they ask?
They’ll usually just ask about the history of the bladder weakness, for example whether it is just at night time or daytime as well, and about any treatments or medications that may be affecting your child’s bladder control. They will probably undertake a brief examination and ask for a urine sample for testing. If practical, they may well ask you to keep a diary recording when they urinate involuntarily over the course of a week, to help identify patterns or trigger points. In fact it may be helpful to keep a diary a week before the first appointment then you will have all this information immediately to hand. You can download a diary form here.
Here are some useful tips on how to manage your child's bladder weakness we’ve collected from parents, nurses and teachers.
Tip 1 – Be patient. We know it’s hard, but be patient. Most children grow out of bed wetting, and if the child is 5 or under there’s really no need for concern.
Tip 2 - Be calm and supportive. Remember that children are very alert to impatience, annoyance or anxiety.
Tip 3 – Tell them how common bladder weakness is. Your child may feel isolated and worried that there is something seriously wrong with them. Mention that other children at school may well have it but wouldn’t necessarily talk about it. All that’s happening is that their bladder isn’t working correctly yet.
Tip 4 –Explanations make things seem safe, so give your child a biology lesson (you could use the information below). With younger children, perhaps you could tell it like a story: “‘Mr Bladder’ is still learning his job and getting to know everyone else… soon they’ll all be getting along well together and everything should work fine.” Knowing how everything works and being told that eventually it will be better can take the mystery and fear out of the situation. If you need more information <go to Causes>.
Tip 5 – Remember that your child should still drink liquids when they need them. It may seem odd, but cutting down on liquid intake tends to concentrate the urine, which can increase irritations and problems. So allow them to drink as normal, though, if possible, not just before going to bed.
Tip 6 – For parents, why not let teachers know if your child has day-time problems so they can provide support for the child and ensure easy access to the school lavatory. Another good idea is to pack a spare pair of pants in their gym kit or school bag.
Tip 7 – Let your child know if you or a sibling had similar problems. It gives them hope to realise that others have been through what they’re going through and that it was just a temporary phase.
Tip 8 – Nip all peer teasing in the bud. Kids can be unkind to each other, especially when it comes to bed-wetting. So it’s important to explain (not by telling off) that everyone has physical differences: some are short-sighted, some have allergies, some have birthmarks, etc. You should remind them that: “Different people develop at different rates and it’s not something they can control. However, being nice to people and helping them when they are vulnerable is within everyone’s control.”
Tip 9 – Don’t let the child’s bed-wetting become their defining feature. Your child may be an actor, an artist, a sportsman, an explorer, a nurturer or a mischievous imp but he or she should never be ‘a bed-wetter’.