What can you do at home?

Children and young people with additional support needs including those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (also known as ASD) are far more likely to have sleep problems than other children.

Please click on the posters below for guidance. For more information, please see: http://devon.integratedchildrensservices.co.uk/learning-disability-nursing/parentcarer/sleep-problems-for-a-child-with-learning-disabilities/

Daytime and bedtime wetting (enuresis) is best described as delays or difficulties in bladder control resulting in wetting accidents at day or night beyond the age at which you would expect your child to be dry.

Here are some things to think about that might help with keeping your child dry during the day/at night:

Daytime wetting

  1. Is your child drinking enough? Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml) – this is important even though you are worried about them not being dry
  2. Could your child be constipated? It’s always best to exclude this first.
  3. Does he/she get so engrossed in their activities that they are then too late to? Your could try prompting your child at regular intervals to go to the toilet (ideally every 90 minutes)
  4. Is he/she rushing in and out of the toilet? Your child may need incentives to stay in the bathroom a bit longer, such as a book or a game
  5. Is he/she comfortable/safe sitting on the toilet – does he/she need a child’s toilet seat and a stool/step

Bed wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)

  1. Is your child drinking enough during the day? Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml) – this is important even though you are worried about them not being dry
  2. Could your child be constipated? It’s always best to exclude this first. See our information on constipation
  3. Avoid blackcurrant, caffeinated and fizzy drinks as these can irritate the bladder
  4. Try and make sure your child’s last drink is about an hour/an hour and half before bed
  5. Make sure they go to the toilet before bedtime – but we don ‘t recommend you wake children in the night and get them up to go
  6. Is your child still wearing pull-ups at night? You could try a few nights without to encourage them

The Public Health Nursing Team can support children and young people in the assessment and management of daytime and night time wetting.

Please see: http://devon.integratedchildrensservices.co.uk/public-health-nursing/support/wetting/ for more information.

Anxiety is being or feeling worried, stressed or nervous about things and can be as a result of things that have happened to us or having seen things happen to others.

Sometimes it is good to feel anxiety as it protects us from doing things we shouldn’t – or it warns us if we are about to do things that are dangerous.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provide help for children and young people who may be experiencing problems with their emotional or psychological wellbeing.

How do I know if my child has anxiety?

Anxiety affects us all differently – it can make us feel short of breath, give us headaches, stomach aches, affect our concentration, affect our sleeping, affect our toilet habits, make us sweaty, make our hearts beat faster or just generally make us feel on edge.

It is really important that we can try to understand how we are so affected by anxiety and then we can try different ways of managing it. For example:

  • Talking about why or how we feel anxious
  • Trying breathing exercises
  • Distracting ourselves with television, music, exercise, walking, reading, baking, drawing, knitting, sewing, gardening – anything that helps us feel more relaxed

How can I help my child?

It’s difficult to understand what your child is going through if you haven’t experienced it yourself, or why it’s happening to them. You should try and imagine being in their shoes, experiencing what they’re feeling, and not question or doubt them. You should reassure your child that you are there for them, a hug and a kiss can make a world of difference.

Remember that their worrying behaviour may be short lived, all children and young people go through stresses and strains when growing up and everyone reacts to that differently. They will be able to manage this stage better knowing that they can open up to to you and they have the support of their family. Try talking to your child asking how they think you can help – they will have the best ideas to support how they’re feeling.

How can we help?

If the anxiety continues or gets harder to manage, it’s important to ask for more help from a professional such as a school nurse or GP, who can then make a request for service from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

You can find more information at: http://devon.integratedchildrensservices.co.uk/camhs/support/anxiety/

Constipation is the term used to describe when there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces or soiling (stools, poos or motions).

Guidance and helpful information

Here are some things you can do at home to help your child with constipation:

  1.  Is your child drinking enough? Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml). They need enough fluids to keep the bowel movements soft and regular.
  2.  Do they have enough fibre in their diet? Eating enough fibre is very important in ensuring your child’s bowels stay comfortable and they are able to go to the toilet easily. This means eating five portions of fruit or vegetables per day.
  3. Are they getting enough physical activity?
  4. Are they comfortable/safe sitting on the toilet and sitting there long enough? Does he/she need a child’s toilet seat and a stool to feel safe?
  5. Are they afraid to sit on the toilet or to have a poo/are they trying to hold it in?

If you think your child is constipated, or as a young person feel you may be constipated, please seek advice and support.

More information can be found here: http://devon.integratedchildrensservices.co.uk/public-health-nursing/support/constipation/

The information in the documents below will give you a general idea of the developments you can expect and at what age, but you shouldn’t worry if your child takes a slightly different course.

The advice sheets below are ordered in school years and contain information on typical development for their age and what to look out for in your child.

    Reception >          Year one >        Year two >        Key stage two (8 – 11) >