Scared of Alarm

RT writes about her 6 year old daughter who thinks that a bedwetting alarm will scare her. She wonders if we have heard that from other families.

Children are all so different in their response to new situations, new sounds, and new feelings. I want to offer you some tips if the loud sound is a concern to your daughter.

• Describe the bedwetting alarm in a different way, perhaps a bedwetting alert or a bedwetting reminder.
• Let her listen to the sounds, both on-line as well as when you receive it.
• Play with the alarm, turning it on and off many times, so that she can get used to the sound it makes. Have her hold it in her hand and turn it off and on herself.
• Attach the alarm to a dry pair of panties. The alarm is silent. Then attach it to wet panties. Let her observe how the alarm works to let her know in the nighttime that wetting is occurring.

When she uses her bedwetting alarm:

If the loud sound is still a concern, you can offer the turn down the volume (on the wireless alarms) or position the alarm further from her ear (with the wearable models).

Her actual response in the nighttime has to do with the time in her sleep cycle that the alarm sounds. Early wettings, within a couple of hours of going to sleep, are common when first starting an alarm. During this phase of sleep, it’s common for kids (as well as some adults) to be disoriented, possibly combative, say things that don’t make sense, cry or not know the way to the bathroom. Many of the kids have no memory of this in the morning. If she remembers this as being scared, remind her that it’s just a sound and her brain isn’t quite used to that noise yet. After using the alarm for a few nights, her brain begins to figure it out.

In my practice, I see that wetting early in the sleep cycle usually stops after a few weeks. When the wetting takes place later in the sleep cycle, a much different response is observed. Closer to morning, your daughter most likely will know what the sound means, know what to do next or at least be able to reason with you.

Anticipate her nighttime response and reassure her that you will be there to help her if she can’t remember what to do when the alarm sounds. If your reassurance isn’t enough right now, maybe this is not the right time to begin using the alarm. Let her know that you and her bedwetting reminder will be ready to start when she is.

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