Category Archives: parenting

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.

Back to School!

Today is the first day of first grade for my sons. It is also the first day of pre-K counts for my daughters. This mom is so excited! They will have a great academic year and I will get projects completed. boys first day

Today I celebrate with lunch with a friend and a special pedicure.

 

 

 

 

Life with a Moaning Myrtle

whining

Do you live with a Moaning Myrtle* or a child with a high agitation level?

My youngest daughter is such a child, and let me tell you life with her (at 3.5) is loud and can be very frustrating for both of us. Most days, she wakes up wailing. This is followed by wailing for a variety of reasons throughout the day.

Have you seen the Reasons My Son is Crying  Blog? It’s hysterical. Our life, not so much.

It can be very tough. It is also very isolating.

It is especially frustrating when people say in a pseudo-sympathetic tone, “I don’t know how you do it.” (Please, just don’t).  Some children (like adults) are just wired differently. If you have a calm, easy going child, you are a very lucky individual. Then there are those of us who have a child who is easily agitated and we need to adjust our strategy a bit.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Children whine and cry because it is the only tool they have.
  • The most important thing you can do is to remain calm. This can be.really.hard. I try to remember to use breathing techniques to center myself like the 4, 7, 8 breathing technique.
  • Get down to the child’s level and ask what he/she needs. My husband swears by this-eye contact. He feels it is validating for the child to have your attention for that moment. For our daughter, sometimes that validation is all that is needed to break the moaning/crying/whining cycle.
  • Children don’t understand why the house needs to be cleaned or why we have to be somewhere. All they know is that they aren’t the center of their parents’ world. For young children, this can trigger anxiety which is manifesed in moaning/whining.  A hug can go a long way to managing moods. The brief physical contact reminds them that they are loved and important.
  • Distraction can work like magic. When my daughter starts up, especially if it is something extremely trivial, we distract her with pointing out/discussing something that may be of interest, (“did you see that deer, rabbit, squirrel on the side of the road?”). Ignoring the behavior, for our child, doesn’t work when she starts to ramp up.Distraction that she can engage in does help redirect her.
  • When your child is NOT engaging in the negative behavior, now it is time for attention and praise. This should be reasonable (children aren’t fools, they can smell empty platitudes from a mile away, even at 3 years old). There was an interesting article  I read recently that focuses on restating the child’s independent actions as a means of praise

Here’s an example. My daughter, A, gets agitated when asked to wait when she wants help and I’m doing something else. When she is able to wait for me to complete a task and get to her I can say, “A, you waited without crying. Let’s get you what you want.” In this sentence, I have restated the desired behavior (waiting without crying) and she gets positive attention plus the desired goal (what she wants).

  •  A regular routine with sleep is important to maintaining equilibrium. I can tell when my children are tired by their behavior. My daughters both (even the easy-going twin) become more agitated and less resilient when they are tired. It becomes harder to redirect and distract. When that happens, if at all possible, we try to retreat for a nap.
  • Nutrition is also important. Is your child hungry and/or thirsty? I am guilty of forgetting these simple things sometimes when A starts to escalate. I keep healthy snacks in a small Tupperware bin in my car so we have something healthy if we need it.

I do a lot of reframing for my own mental health. I choose to focus on the good things that go well for A on a given day (and we are usually more good than bad). This helps tremendously. She truly is a, “sunny with a chance of scattered thunder showers” type of child as opposed to a “monsoon for the next week.” and I need to keep that in perspective.

I hope that this adds some insight and strategies for dealing with your own moaning myrtles. I wish you a weather forecast of nothing but sunny days with calm seas in your life with your child.

Do you have such a child? What has worked for your family? I’d love to hear it.

*(Moaning Myrtle was a ghost in the Hogwarts bathroom in the Harry Potter series)

 

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.