Back to school
Post #1: The first day at school!
The first day of school is a big (and sometimes stressful) step for kids and parents alike. But for parents continuing to manage a child who is wetting the bed, the start of school can present its own unique challenges.
While we know stress isn’t a direct cause of bedwetting, it can make the management of bedwetting more difficult. Changes to your child’s normal routine, like starting school, can affect the progress you may have made in stopping bedwetting.
Even if your child is already a few years into school, returning to a new teacher or classroom, or even a new curriculum, may produce new challenges that can add to stress.
Above all, it’s important to not be too disheartened if your child wets the bed again once they have started school. Here a few simple techniques worth considering if your child continues to wet the bed (or ‘relapses’) once they start school:
- Re-establish routine: The start of school presents a shake up to your regular day to day life, so establishing a new routine that’s right for your family and maintaining this may help, i.e. regular post-school routine, bath, dinner and bedtime throughout the week.
- Get to know the environment: Get in touch with the school to see if a tour of the school / classroom is possible (ideally in advance of the new school year). This familiarises your child with their new environment, to help them feel comfortable and less stressed when school starts.
- Speak to the teacher: A quick chat or brief email to your child’s teacher, to let them know you are managing bedwetting, puts everyone on the same page, and ensures they’re aware and can discretely cater for your child’s needs if necessary.
How can your school help?
In addition to having a conversation with your child’s teacher, there are a number of initiatives that could be worth bringing to the school’s attention. For example, The Continence Foundation of Australia offers the Healthy Bladder and Bowel Habits in Schools project, which encourages schools to raise awareness of the importance of healthy bladder and bowel habits.
This project offers schools a kit with activities, resources, and surveys tailored for educating children on healthy bladder and bowel habits. Resources such as these not only offer support for your child, but to other families who are experiencing similar difficulties. For further information visit www.continence.org.au or contact the free Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
How can your doctor help?
Your doctor or continence professional can provide you with advice on how to help your child adjust to a new routine, including starting school, and recommend adjustments to the management of their bedwetting if required. If you haven’t downloaded our checklist already, click here - it provides a helpful starting point for your discussions with your doctor.
- Fries W C. Could Stress or Anxiety Be Causing Your Child’s Bedwetting? Available online: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/bedwetting-stress-anxiety#1 (last accessed 23 Jan 2017)
- Parenting SA. Bedwetting. Available online: http://www.parenting.sa.gov.au/pegs/peg22.pdf (last accessed 23 Jan 2017)
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2010. Start of school can worsen bedwetting in children. ScienceDaily. Available online: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100925120432.htm (last accessed 23 Jan 2017)
- Stone D. 6 ways to take the stress out of the first day of school. Available online: https://www.babble.com/kid/6-ways-to-take-the-stress-out-of-the-first-day-of-school (last accessed 23 Jan 2017)
- The Continence Foundation of Australia. Healthy bladder and bowel habits in schools. Available online: http://www.continence.org.au/pages/healthy-bladder-and-bowel-habits-in-schools.html (last accessed 23 Jan 2017)
1. Myint M et al. J Pediatr Urol 2016;12:112e1-112e6