Category Archives: children’s sleep

Coping With Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)

With five kids, it is probable that we’d have a bed wetter. Our son C is six years old and for most nights of his life, has wet the bed almost every night

We have tried the following things to cope with this problem:
•pull-ups, rubber pants, cloth pants for older kids
•limiting fluids after a certain time
•waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
•chuxs and or bed pads
•resignation

I was beginning to think that he would be wet until high school. It was highly embarrassing to him (particularly since his twin is dry all the time). We are just beginning the age of sleepovers and boy scout camp outs, and I didn’t want him to have to be ashamed. Unfortunately, my friends didn’t have any enlightening answers either. I also didn’t want this to become a millstone such as the 12-year old who wets the bed. My stepson was such a child, and it was painful for him. I figured that if we could fix it now, all the better.

One day while perusing Amazon for pull ups (again), my search engine directed me toward some new items. One of these articles was the TheraPee program. I tend to trust Amazon reviews, especially the reviews that did not receive money for their evaluations. I was blown away by the price tag (it’s over $200.00), but the reviews were fantastic. I filed it onto my wishlist.

Time passed, we went through more and more dollars of pull ups, laundry and reusable bed wetting pads. I had some Amazon credits and a recent VA back pay, so I bit the bullet and purchased the Therapee program. I DID NOT receive money or this product for free. To say I was nervous is an understatement, especially after spending so much money.

Here’s how it works:

For the price tag, you get the Therapee alarm pad. It looks like this:

therapee

There is also video coaching in which a therapist talks to your child. This is bi-monthly, and although it is prerecorded it is related to your child’s progress.

Additionally, there is an online progress chart that we complete nightly.

Screenshot 2016-09-08 13.15.08.png

The Therapee alarm goes under the bottom sheet. It’s a pretty sensitive signal, and the sensitivity can be adjusted. At first, we had it going off when C was sweating, but we changed the sensitivity. The monitor (displayed in the photo), sits on his dresser next to his bed. The device allows for setting alterations.

But it’s not about the alarm alone.

First, the doctor had C work on controlling his urine stream. He practiced stopping the flow during urination and then releasing it again.

He also works on opening and closing his eyes rapidly. This helps to modify his Spinal Galant reflex. I had no idea that vision therapy could help bedwetting. Here is an article describing vision therapy.

This program has been a complete game changer!

We are in our second month of treatment.

The difference is evident in the charts.  Blue stars represent dry nights. Red stars occur after three consecutive dry nights. What you can’t see in the image is the nights without stars (wet nights) have an expandable menu that you type in the hours period of wetting, the wetness measurement and if the child woke on his own. Every two weeks we check in with the therapist and get a new assignment to practice.

My son feels he can now proudly sleep away from home. I see such a difference in his confidence. To me, that is priceless!

Some caveats:

  • This program is not for children younger than 4.
  • You have to follow the program. Use the online chart daily.
  • Children older than 12 might not be as excited by the rewards system visual as my 6-year-old. I believe there is an older child program. Contact the program for more information.

This post contains an affiliate link. An affiliate link is a link to a product I like and trust on Amazon.

How Do I Get My Child to Sleep?

I spent two decades as a Active Duty Army Social Work Officer (I’m an LCSW). At least 60 percent of my clinical practice involved sleep issues and disorders.

I am also the mother of two sets of twins ( 3 and almost 6) one of whom was not a good sleeper.

I am frequently asked how I get my 4 children to sleep at the same time every night. (3 out of 4 stay asleep through the night). The following tips are helpful for weaned toddlers through elementary aged children.

  • Bedtime should be the same time every night.
  • No screen time ( TV, computer, game etc…) within an hour of bedtime.
  • No television, radio or electronics in or within hearing distance of the sleep area if at all possible.
  • Invest in black out curtains.
  • A  warm bath with lavender scented soap helps relax children before bed
  • Establish a bedtime routine that involves a glass of milk with a tablespoon of honey for children older than a year. It doesn’t have to be cow’s milk (it could be soy, nut or goat’s milk as an example) but honey is a natural sedative.
  • Do the same things at the sleep time, e.g book, sing songs, etc…Do these every night in the same order. With younger children who have concrete thinking, create a plan and don’t deviate from it. My daughters get one book and one song each at bedtime, every night.
  • Have a consequence ready in your head if the child gets out of bed for no reason. (This does not include going to the bathroom, unless you feel that the repeated trips to the bathroom are a manipulation). I keep a potty in my daughters’ room for convenience sake.  If my children are out of bed to play, etc.. they stand on the wall for minutes approximating their age. So if the three year old gets out of bed to play, she stands on the wall for 3 minutes. You can use any consequence that works for your child.
  • If your pediatrician recommends it, the lowest dose of melatonin ( 1 mg) can be given 30 minutes before sleep. My children love the melatonin gummies. You can find them at most pharmacies.

In a future post, we will tackle bedtime defiance, sleep disruptions, and keeping your cool at bedtime.