Being the parent of a child with bladder emptying problems can be stressful. Aside from all the regular tasks of parenting, you also need to teach your child how to empty his/her bladder, probably with a catheter. You are also the person who has to make sure that your child is catheterized regularly, even when they are at daycare, school, or with friends or relatives.
Tips and advice for helping your child get started with intermittent catheterization.
Deciding what to tell others about your child's needs is your choice, but sometimes explaining the details is necessary.
It's important that your child learns that emptying his/her bladder is a private matter, which should be done in the toilet. You should therefore start catheterizing your child in the bathroom as soon as possible. When your child begins school, ask the school if they can put an extra cabinet in one of the toilet stalls. This cabinet can be used to store catheters and other equipment.
It helps if you can find tricks that help your child remember when it's time to catheterize. Try not to nag, as it can have the opposite effect intended. It's important to adapt the scheduled times for emptying your child's bladder to his/her daily lifestyle. Maybe it can be done in connection with other activities, for example meals and snacks. Many children use their mobile phones as reminders. At school, schedule catheterization to fit in with your child's curriculum. The schedule should always be easily accessible. Let them take responsibility for emptying their bladder as much as possible. It’s important to remember that assistants who remind your child every time they need to empty their bladder can sometimes be counterproductive — kids can become reliant on the reminders, which can slow development of confidence in their own ability.
It will be challenging at times. But seeing your child learn to trust their ability makes it all worthwhile. For your child, knowing that he/she can go to the toilet by themselves, can go to a friend's house after school, a sleepover or even camping and always feel independent is a strength. It also builds your child's self-esteem and self-confidence.
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