Bedwetters and Sleep Overs
Having a child with bedwetting issues is stressful – and sometimes really frustrating. Kids are trying to cope with the feeling that they have no control over their bodies while parents cope with additional laundry and the lack of sleep. Parents and children both struggle to fix this problem and often use different coping methods until they can work it out.
When your child is old enough, invitations for sleepovers will start rolling in and a whole new dimension of stress is added to the bedwetting issue. It used to be that kids were around the age of 9 or 10 when they started going on their first sleepovers. These days, sleepovers can start as early as around the age of 5 or 6, and some have already slept over at a friend's house before they were in kindergarten.
Should They Go?
Summer camp, school trips, Boy or Girl Scout outings and slumber parties are some of the places that kids will be invited or expected to attend. Children suddenly have to face the additional stress caused by the possibility that someone outside the home will find out they wet the bed. Parents worry about how to protect their children from teasing, and some children have nightmares about a friend or classmate finding out they wet the bed.
Parents and kids should make the choice to attend or decline on a case-by-case basis. The child should look at the location, event and length of time that he will be away from home. Parents should also weigh the comfort or confidence level of the child. With a little preparation, though, the answer to whether or not the child can go in most cases can be "yes." Children who wet the bed can have active social lives and sleepovers and have the same fun that their friends do.
My two girls have been going to and hosting sleepovers for some time now, and we have been successful in managing bedwetting during these times. We have some basic guidelines we follow that work well for us, and we can add or subtract others based on each type of event that the children attend. Hosting a sleepover is the easiest way to start and a good way to begin building confidence in your child and to ease yourself into other types of sleepovers.
The biggest thing that has worked for my family in getting ready for each of the different types of sleepovers has been practice, practice and more practice. We hold mock sleepovers, campouts and slumber parties at home prior to the events and practice getting ready for bed, getting up during the night and what to do if someone finds out about the bedwetting or the GoodNites®. Your child will gain confidence with each practice and become more comfortable with the idea of a sleepover, and so will you. When you both are ready, consider inviting your child's best friend over for the first sleepover as practice. The next step is to allow your child an overnight sleepover at the best friend's house. It's always a good idea to start small to build confidence, and then have your child try larger events.
Here are some tips to try at all types of sleepovers:
- Consider using a medication that reduces urine production just before the event. It can be used to help your child stay dry for short periods of time if you don't want your child to be on them indefinitely. Ask your pediatrician about the different prescriptions available.
- Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep the night before. It helps to avoid being sleepy and overtired.
- Reduce liquids after an early dinner, and avoid foods and beverages that may be salty or have high-caffeine contents. Salty foods will make your child thirsty, and caffeine is a diuretic that will increase the amount of urine that is made – two things you will want to avoid during the trip.
- Have your child wear a disposable undergarment like GoodNites.
- Oversized nightshirts, nightgowns, bulky pajamas or other layered sleepwear will help cover the GoodNites. My kids will sometimes cover the GoodNite with regular underwear or with boxer shorts if they worry that it might be noticeable.
- Bring a gallon-sized zipper-sealable bag and a small opaque trash bag for each GoodNite. The bag with the seal will keep the odor down and the opaque trash bag can be used to conceal the contents if it is to be thrown away at the event.
- I make up a small overnight bag about the size of a large makeup case or shaving case that has a small flashlight, one or two rolled up GoodNites and some moist wipes to clean up. I usually include an extra nightshirt, underwear and a GoodNite in case my daughter wants to include a back up. This can make getting ready for bed fast and discrete or it can be used in the middle of the night if needed.
- Tell your child to try and pick a sleeping spot that is closest to the door, just in case.
- Remind your child to go to the bathroom one more time before he goes to sleep. Tell him to void and wait a couple of minutes and try voiding again. This will help make sure that his bladder is as empty as possible.
- Parents and kids should consider letting the hosting parents know about the bedwetting just in case a problem comes up. By knowing, the parents could also help create a distraction to give your child a chance to get changed or ready for bed without anyone else noticing.
- Consider having your child ask an adult to wake her about a half hour before anyone else so she has time to get up and dress alone.
- Have your child think about what he might say if someone does find out about his bedwetting. It most likely won't be needed, but it helps your child know how to cope if it happens.
Events that require sleeping bags are oftentimes easier to cope with, especially if it is just an overnight trip. In addition to the above tips, here are a few shortcuts:
- When your child is getting his sleeping bag ready, have him put a GoodNite, a pair of underwear and a large gallon-sized plastic bag in the bottom of the sleeping bag and roll it up like normal.
- Have your child get ready for bed along with everyone else except have her wait to put her GoodNite on until she is inside the sleeping bag.
- After lights are out and everyone settles down, your child can wait a few minutes and then slide his underwear off and put his GoodNite on.
- Did someone notice? Your child can simply say she had an itch or was just trying to get comfortable!
- In the morning, your child can bring up the plastic bag with his foot and put the GoodNite inside. Then he simply puts his underwear back on, gets up and rolls up the sleeping bag with the GoodNite still inside.
- Is someone already awake? Tell your child to take the sleeping bag into the bathroom with her. There she can clean up, put her underwear back on and put the GoodNite in the plastic bag. Roll up the sleeping bag and throw away the GoodNite at home.
These tips have worked well for my family. Talk to your child, practice these steps and have some fun one-on-one with your child while you build confidence and comfort levels for both of you.
A New Item for the Suitcase
Sleepovers are now a little easier thanks to GoodNites Sleep Boxers for Boys and Sleep Shorts for Girls. They look like any shorts a child would wear to bed, but with all-in-one disposable nighttime protection and odor control for added discretion. The boxers and sleep shorts are modeled after underwear or briefs. Kids love them because they feel like shorts – giving kids sleeping away from home or around other children more confidence. So they don't have to worry about their bedwetting and concentrate on the fun stuff – like that traditional pillow fight!