BPT -- For the estimated 6 million-plus American children who experience bedwetting, sleepovers, sleep-away camp and vacation can trigger embarrassment, not to mention stress and worry for parents. Compounding the problem, many parents don't understand that bedwetting is a developmental phase that occurs as a child grows, and few consult their pediatricians about their concerns. In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by Strategy One found that 43 percent of parents incorrectly believe they can train their kids out of bedwetting.
"Many parents are unaware that bedwetting is a developmental condition, and not something a child can be trained out of," says pediatrician Dr. Wolffe Nadoolman. "Most children will stop wetting the bed on their own as they physically mature -- until that happens, learning to manage bedwetting can cause stress between a parent and child, and ultimately impact the child's self-esteem and confidence."
It's important for parents to find coping strategies, and consistently comfort and reassure their children. Dr. Nadoolman and mom blogger and author Meagan Francis offer guidance on how parents can handle bedwetting during common overnight occasions.
1. Slumber party success
If your child agrees, talk to the host parents. Make sure they understand your child's bedwetting is a medical condition that he or she can't control. Arrange a private place to store GoodNites Underwear and a private spot for your child to change into them. Stash a dark plastic bag in his backpack to make disposal easy and discreet.
Avoid bed-sharing with family or friends. Instead, have your child bring a sleeping bag.
2. Camp confidence
Bedwetting is so common, there's a good chance other kids at camp will also be managing the problem. Since camp is often the first time a child is away from home alone, talk to camp counselors and administrators ahead of time -- with your child's agreement, of course. Discuss what accommodations you can make to ensure your child's GoodNites Underwear are stored and discarded privately and discreetly, and that your child has a secure place to change into them.
3. Family vacation fun
Compassion from the rest of the family will go a long way toward easing a child's bedwetting stress on vacation. Remind siblings to treat each other with love and respect. Since vacation disrupts routines, plan itineraries that allow children plenty of time to settle in at night and stick as closely as possible to their regular sleep schedule.
4. Spending time with grandparents
Trust the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and explain the situation to Grandma and Grandpa. Answer any questions they may have, and emphasize the need to be sensitive to your child's feelings. Pack Bed Mats to ensure sheets stay dry, and consider leaving a package at Grandma's house for future overnight visits.
5. Adventures in overnight babysitting
Overnight babysitters need to be especially responsible and compassionate when caring for children as they cope with bedwetting.
If your child is comfortable with it, discuss his or her situation with the sitter ahead of time. Make sure the sitter understands that bedwetting is a common developmental condition, and not sign of your child acting out. If your child isn't OK with the sitter knowing about his situation, make sure he understands how to change his own protective garments and PJs.
6. Less stress from out-of-town guests
Before guests arrive, make sure to prepare a sleeping place for them that is separate from your child's. Keep your child's nighttime routine and don't let visitors hinder the process. Remind siblings to respect your child's privacy and not discuss nighttime wetting in front of guests.
Though many parents fear their child will never outgrow bedwetting, the experts affirm that worrying is not the answer. It's best to comfort and reassure kids after every incident and know that bedwetting is a developmental phase that most children will outgrow on their own.
"Your role as parent is simply to help your child manage the condition and let them know it is just a bump in the road," Nadoolman says.
For advice on bedwetting, visit www.GoodNites.com.