As the summer starts winding down, it’s a bittersweet time. While summer memories were made, the back to school list also comes in the mail around this time. Some kids can’t wait to get back and learn something new, and others have to be dragged out of bed. However, for kids with incontinence, starting school again can be a source of stress and anxiety.
Helping Kids With Incontinence Return To School
Even after a summer with minimal accidents, the beginning of the school year can cause an uptick in incidents. The loud chiming of bells, new teachers, not knowing where to go, and more, isn’t easy.
Kids will get used to a certain eating and sleeping schedule during the summer and heading back to the classroom can throw a wrench in their normal routine. Childhood incontinence only adds to this physical and emotional stress.
School also presents issues such as the lack of regular bathroom times, incomplete diets, potential embarrassment around other children, and more. However, there are a few steps you can take to ease the transition.
- Be Understanding
After you’ve had a pretty good summer, childhood incontinence can be frustrating if it flares back up. Stay calm and be supportive of your child. This condition is only made worse with added stress. Help your child remain confident to give them the ability to face their classmates. If an accident occurs, let them know everything is alright.
- Get Back On Schedule Early
A week or two before school starts, help your child be prepared by helping them get on a normal sleeping schedule. Set a normal bedtime and wake them up at the time they need to be up on a school morning. You can also practice setting a bathroom schedule every 1 to 2 hours based on their class schedule and individual needs. Also, getting their breakfast, snacks, and lunchtime on a regular schedule will help too.
- Contact Their Teachers
While a child may not want their teacher to know about their urinary incontinence, they can be a major help. They can make accommodations for your child such as letting them sit near the restroom or go to bathrooms down the hall alone. Teachers can also help children discreetly see the nurse if they need to change.
Gym teachers can accommodate children by allowing them to change in the restroom so other kids won’t see their incontinence underwear and by allowing them to excuse themselves from physical activities.
- Maintain Hydration and Nutrition
It’s common for parents to assume part of incontinence treatment includes reducing water intake. While it may be helpful for your child not to have water before bed, they need 6 to 8 glasses during the day. Dehydration can actually make it more difficult to urinate.
Proper nutrition can help ease incontinence symptoms, so unless your child’s school has a stellar lunch menu, it may be beneficial to pack a lunch with healthy snacks for them. Include plenty of fruits and veggies so your little one can get lots of vitamins and nutrients.
- Make Sure Your Child Is Always Prepared
Send your child to school in clothes that are easy to quickly pull down. Sometimes zippers and buttons can pose a challenge when a child is trying to quickly make it to the toilet. In case they don’t make it in time, make sure they have a change of clothes ready to go.
It’s important for children with incontinence to remain clean, so it might be helpful to make sure they have sanitary wipes on hand for a quick self-cleanup. However, the school nurse might already be equipped with those items.
Make sure they have enough incontinence supplies to make it through the entire day. Although, you probably have a lot to manage, so we’ll take this one for you. Qualify through insurance to have a monthly supply of incontinence products shipped directly to your home.
- See A Urologist
It’s always good to check in with your child’s urologist during flare-ups to rule out medical incontinence causes. Urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, neurological disorders, and more can contribute to incontinence in children.
Your urologist may be able to provide an update on your child’s condition with a care plan full of specific exercises and techniques to meet their individual needs.