When the summer starts winding down, it can be bittersweet for both parents and children. New teachers, new friends, and new schedules can be a source of excitement for many children. However, for children who struggle with bladder control, starting a new school year can be a source of major stress and anxiety.
Even after a summer with minimal accidents, the beginning of the school year can cause accidents to start up again. The loud chiming of bells, new schedules, not knowing where to go, and overall increased anxiety can be causes of increased incontinence symptoms in children.
Because incontinence symptoms can worsen with added stress and anxiety, it is important to have a plan before the school year begins. Setting a plan with your child and your child’s teacher will set all involved up for success. By following the below tips, the transition from summer break to school can go smoothly.
1. Contact Their Teachers
While a child may not want their teacher to know about their urinary incontinence, they can be a major help to your child. During the school year, your child’s teacher is with them a majority of their time Monday through Friday. Teachers want your child to succeed, and they can often make accommodations for your child such as:
- Allowing your child to sit near the door so they can go to the restroom when needed (without having to wait for permission if an urge strikes suddenly)
- Allowing your child to walk down the hallway to the restroom alone
- Assisting your child with their regular voiding schedule to prevent accidents
- Developing code words with your child for when your child needs to use the restroom or has had an accident
- Supporting your child and preventing/stopping bullying from occurring
- Identifying holding postures or other indications that your child needs to use the restroom
Gym teachers can also accommodate children with incontinence by allowing them to change in the restroom (instead of the locker room), to give the child extra privacy to conceal their incontinence products from their peers.
If you feel nervous approaching your child’s teachers about their incontinence, remember that it is a very common condition. Your child likely won’t be the first or only child they have encountered that has needed a little extra help in this area.
We recommend setting a meeting before the school year starts to talk over your concerns with your child’s teacher. It can also be helpful to bring a list of your child’s symptoms and triggers for their teacher’s reference. In this meeting, your child’s teacher may also be able to assist with developing an incontinence plan that will not distract your child from their learning. It is important to also talk to the school nurse, as well, as they can also be a source of support for your child.
2. Get Back on Schedule Early
A week or two before school starts, it can be helpful to begin to gradually readjust to the school year routine by helping your child get on a school-appropriate sleeping schedule. Additionally, you can also practice setting a bathroom schedule every 1 to 2 hours based on your child’s class schedule and individual needs. If you know when your child will have bathroom breaks during the day, it can be helpful to help them use the restroom at these times while still at home. Anything you can do to recreate the school schedule at home will help in adjusting to the transition and can alleviate some of the stress your child may have.
3. Maintain Hydration & Nutrition
It’s common for people to assume part of incontinence treatment includes reducing water intake. While it may be helpful for your child not to have water before bed, it is important that they stay hydrated during school. Dehydration can make the urine more concentrated, which can worsen incontinence symptoms.
Proper nutrition can potentially help ease incontinence symptoms, as well. Packing a lunch with healthy snacks that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and sources of fiber can allow for your little one to get the vitamins and nutrients they need to have healthy urination. Consuming healthy amounts of fiber and maintaining proper hydration can also help prevent constipation, which can alleviate pressure on the bladder.
4. Get Bladder Control Supplies Through Aeroflow Urology
We understand that this can be overwhelming, but Aeroflow Urology may be able to help. Aeroflow Urology can supply your child’s Medicaid-covered diapers and pull-ups at no cost through their Medicaid plan. Most state Medicaid plans will cover incontinence supplies if diapers or pull-ons are deemed medically necessary due to a specific diagnosis. If approved, your child will be matched with a dedicated Continence Care Specialist that will ensure they have the best incontinence supplies for their individual needs. Aeroflow will check in on a monthly basis via phone or email to see if any changes need to be made to your child’s supply, and all you have to do is fill out our quick and easy 2-step form.
5. Make Sure Your Child Is Always Prepared
We recommend sending your child to school in clothes that are easy to quickly remove when using the restroom. Sometimes, zippers and buttons can pose a challenge when a child is trying to quickly make it to the toilet in time. In the case of an accident, we also recommend ensuring they have a change of clothes at school.
Your child will also need properly fitting diapers or pull-ons to effectively prevent leaks and odors. A properly fitting incontinence product is crucial to preventing leaks if your child has an accident. Diaper disposal bags are also a great way to help your child discreetly throw away soiled materials or contain wet clothes until they return home, as well.
Remember, it is important for children with incontinence to remain clean to prevent discomfort or infections, so we also recommend sending your child to school with wipes for quick and easy cleanups. The school’s nurse may also be able to hold extra incontinence supplies for your child such as extra diapers, pull-ups, or wipes.
Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.