I’m worried about accidents at school. How can I get my child ready?
Accidents when children start school are common. There is a new routine and everything is unfamiliar, therefore children can feel unsure about when to go to the loo, or they may just get distracted and forget to go! Either way there are a few things you can do to get your child school ready…
Help them practise managing clothes
When choosing school uniform try to avoid any tricky buttons that could slow your child down when trying to get undressed for the toilet, and let them practise managing their clothing so that they are used to this by the time they get to the toilet.
Explain what’s expected
Talk to your child about the rules of going to the toilet at school. If you are unsure, ask the teachers to explain if they need to ask permission to go. Some schools encourage using hand gestures such as making a ‘T’ with your hands. It can be down to individual teachers to decide the rules, so it’s best to ask.
Show them where the toilets are
If possible point the toilets out when you go into school and have a look at them together to put your child’s mind at rest that there are no tricky locks or noisy hand dryers.
Try to get into the school day routine
Find out what time break and lunch is and start trying to encourage your child to go at those times, in order to get them into the routine of the school day. You can encourage them to go just before leaving for school and as soon as they come home. When they get home they will probably be very tired and so the risk of accidents is greater if they sit down before going for a wee.
Talk to the teacher
If you think there is a risk of accidents, or have any concerns, explain this to the teacher and agree how best to manage this.
Take a spare change of clothes
If you are worried about accidents, pack a spare set of clothes in your child’s bag. Using a Dry Like Me pad in your child’s pants to catch any accidents can help protect clothing and stop your child feeling self-conscious if an accident occurs.
Keep them well hydrated
Sometimes it feels counterintuitive to increase fluid intake when you are worried about accidents, but having a full bladder can help strengthen it, and can also help the child recognise the sensation of needing a wee. It’s also really important to prevent dehydration as this can impact on concentration levels and behaviour in school.
Keep an eye on poo habits
Many children don’t like doing a poo at school, and some may hold for as long as possible, which can lead to constipation. Keep an eye on how often your child is doing a poo and check there are no other signs of constipation such as pain when passing poos. Keeping hydrated and eating a healthy diet helps reduce the chance of constipation.
Teach your child to wipe their bottom
This is one of the toileting skills that is last to be developed, but is an important one. Over the summer encourage your child to practise wiping their own bottom.
Accidents happen and starting school is a major milestone, therefore it is not uncommon for children to get distracted and forget to listen to their body and to have an accident.