If your child is refusing to wear their bed wetting alarm because they fear the noise or think it might hurt them, then read on…
So, you’ve purchased an enuresis alarm, explained to your child it’s on its way and built up their anticipation and excitement! This is going to be great! You can begin to see an end to their bed wetting, finally!
The alarm arrives, you test the sound and excitedly help her set the alarm up before she hops into bed. All is good.
Until she wakes up in hysterics, her alarm is beeping, her bed is wet, and she refuses to put it back on. Not good.
If you’ve experienced this or a similar scenario, or you think a bedwetting alarm will scare your child (which may be why you haven’t started yet), then don’t despair!
You first need to identify WHY your child fears the alarm. Is it the sound that scares them or do they think it will hurt them? In most cases, children may become scared of the alarm after being woken by it for the first time, and this is largely due to be woken during their deep sleep stage in their sleep cycle.
It is most common for children to wet in the first couple of hours of sleep, which is during the stage 3 sleep cycle. This is the time they are in deep sleep and waking up during this cycle can be difficult. They can wake up disoriented, cry, unaware of where they are or may not talk sense. And usually by morning they have no recollection of what happened when they woke during this sleep stage! All they remember is that they were scared.
If this happens, just reassure your child that his brain isn’t used to that type of sound yet and after a few more nights his brain will begin to learn what’s going on.
Those children that wake quite easily to the alarm and are frightened by it, are more likely to overcome their fear if they continue to use their alarm.
Remember the quote ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’? So basically, the more you do something out of your comfort zone and push through it, the easier it becomes, and this is relevant for children too.
For a child though, I understand this can be hard to do and it may need a softer approach. All children respond differently to new sounds, new goals and new challenges.
So, I’ve put together a list of things you can try with your child to help get them over their fear of using an alarm and move one step closer to achieving their biggest success yet!
- You’re their parent and remember you are in charge. Take action and believe in your child that they CAN do it. They will see your belief in them and trust that what you are telling them to do is safe and positive.
- Instead of just calling it a ‘bedwetting alarm’, use your imagination and call it something your child will be excited about. For example, call it a wet-detecting lasso, super-secret spy tool, or wee-buzzer. Better still, let them come up with a name themselves! The idea here is to create an element of fun around it and that this tool is here to HELP them.
- If you’ve got The Parenting Garden Bedwetting Alarm, let them choose their alarm-face sticker and personalise it to their liking. Let them take ownership of it.
Let your child PLAY with the alarm. Let them feel it and examine how it works. Let them activate the sounds and vibration so they become comfortable with this little device.
- If they are worried the alarm will hurt them or ‘zap’ them during the night, have a practice run first. Grab two pairs of undies and slightly dampen one and leave the other dry. Help them to attach the clip to the dry pair of undies and observe the silence. Attach the clip to the damp undies so they can observe what’s happening with the sound, vibration and light. Encourage them to touch the clip while it’s beeping. Encourage them to hold the alarm unit against their arm or leg to demonstrate it won’t hurt them.
- I can’t stress this enough – MAKE IT FUN! Don’t put pressure on them that this will stop their bed wetting, or they must wear it or else… If your child is anything like my youngest where I tell him to do something and he’ll dig his heels down and flatly refuse, then back off and resume later, and when he’s ready.
- Invest in a good quality alarm such as The Parenting Garden Bedwetting Alarm, and one that comes with good support and a program to follow. Extra incentives for the child such as stickers, charts, motivational goals and certificates do wonders. Kids LOVE this stuff and it’s amazing how motivated a child can become if there’s a sticker to put on their chart each morning!
- Assure your child that you will be there to help them when they wake up during the night. Let them know they don’t have to remember exactly what to do when the alarm sounds because you will be there.
- Your child may feel safer if you were close by during the night. Set up your bed on a mattress next to theirs. That way you will be quick to respond to the alarm and be there during the waking-up process.
- If your child is frightened of the alarm sound, you can position the alarm unit further down their arm so it’s not so close to their ear.
- After the first few weeks, wetting will tend to occur later in the night, therefore in a different sleep cycle. When they wake closer to the morning, they are more likely to remember what the alarm sound means, what they are meant to do, and their emotional reaction will be calmer. So, the big lesson here is to persevere!
If you’ve tried some of the above suggestions and your child is still refusing to wear their alarm, then perhaps right now is not the right time. They will know when they’re ready, and you may be pleasantly surprised how different their reaction can be next time round!
The last thing you want them to feel is that their bedwetting is a problem and they need to wear the alarm to ‘fix it’. Rephrase it in a positive way such as ‘your wee-buzzer will help you learn to wake up when you need to do a wee’ or ‘your super-secret spy tool will help you have a dry bed in the morning’.
Treat the alarm as their helper, and not a device to fix them up.
Remember this. Fear is an opportunity for your child to grow into someone they are not currently. It is a stepping-stone towards their big goal of becoming dry and as any parent whose child has achieved dry night success following the ups and downs, there’s not a better feeling!
From feeling their fear and doing it anyway, that child will get to experience courage, accountability, determination, a new level of self-confidence and success. Wow!
Their fear can be a blessing in disguise.