- Try to be calm and consistent - speak slowly and quietly, don't worry about what other people may think if you are in public and don't give in to the tantrum as your child may then see this as a way of getting what they want.
- Ignore the tantrum - ensure that your child is safe and explain that you will be there for them when they have calmed down, then carry on with what you were doing.
- Reassure - after the tantrum, reassure your child, talk to them about their emotions and if they are old enough, talk about how they might deal with those emotions differently ("use your words if you are angry").
- Positive reinforcement - try to make a point of noticing and commenting on good behaviours (such as "you are playing very nicely with your brother") so that your child gets attention for acting in the way you would like them to.
Fussy eating, tantrums, toilet training and more!
- Practice separation - try leaving your child for short periods of time, let them know what is happening and when you will be back.
- Say goodbye and go - have a short and predictable goodbye routine, make sure you leave after you have said goodbye.
- Use a comforter - some children like to have a familiar item (cuddly toy or blanket) when they are apart from their main caregiver.
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- Sleep association (something or someone your child needs to fall asleep e.g. needing to be fed to sleep or held/rocked)
- Separation anxiety
- Being overtired
- Bedtime fears (being scared of the dark)
- Night terrors
- Try to understand and address the underlying problem.
- Having a bedtime routine - a warm bath, dim lights and a story can all be relaxing and help to signal sleeping times.
- Have a consistent bedtime and wake time, adapting this to your child's sleep needs as they get older.
- A comforter may help a young child settle at bedtime and if they wake during the night.
- Avoid screen time in the hour before bed.
- Make sure your child has a cool, quiet, dark and comfortable place to sleep.
- Try not to worry or focus too much on food - if there are no problems with your child's growth and development it's best to wait for your child to outgrow this phase.
- Eat together as a family and eat the same meal, ensuring that your child has an appropriately sized portion and that their food does not have any added salt.
- Keep trying with new foods and offer them in different ways (e.g. offering carrot cooked, uncooked, grated, mixed in a sauce etc.).
- Get your child involved in preparing and cooking meals.
- Praise your child when they try something new.
- Aim for no more than two snacks a day.
- Don't cook to order, if food is uneaten at the end of the meal, just take it away without comment.
Up to the age of 5 years, wetting the bed is normal. It usually stops happening as your child gets older without the need for any treatment:
- up to 1 in 5 5-year-olds wet the bed
- 1 in 20 10-year-olds wet the bed
- about 1 in 50 teenagers wet the bed
- about 1 in 100 teenagers continue to wet the bed into adulthood
Bedwetting happens when your child makes more pee at night than their bladder can hold; unfortunately, young children often don't wake to the feeling of a full bladder, which means that they wet their bed whilst they are sleeping. It can run in families, and boys are more likely to wet the bed than girls.
The good news is you don't need to wait until children grow out of bedwetting - treatment is now available and recommended from the age of 5 years.
What should you do?
If your child is under 5, you don't need to see your GP about their bedwetting unless:
- it happens a lot and is upsetting them
- they're constipated despite you changing their diet
- they have also started wetting themselves during the day, but had been dry most days for a while
- they go to the toilet a lot during the day (for example, every hour), they can't hold on for even a few seconds or minutes, peeing is painful, or they're peeing less than 4 times a day
Other practical tips include giving them their last drink of the day no later than 90 minutes before they go to sleep and encouraging them encourage them to pee as the last thing they do before they go to sleep. Ask you health visitor or school nurse for advice if you are worried.
For commonly asked questions and excellent practical information about the treatment of bedwetting, click here.
- Your child can get on and off of the potty
- Your child can pull their clothes and underwear down
- Your child can follow instructions
- Your child knows when they have a wet or dirty nappy and they tell you this
- Your child can stay dry for an hour or two
- Your child knows when they are doing a wee and they tell you this
- Your child knows when they need to do a wee or a poo and they may tell you this in advance
- Choose a time when there are a few other big changes such as house moving or a new sibling arriving
- Keep a potty in the bathroom (and one downstairs if the bathroom is upstairs)
- Once you have chosen a time to start, swap nappies or pull-ups for pants
- Encourage your child to sit on the potty regularly, particularly after meals and at any time you know your child normally does a poo
- Encourage boys to sit down to wee - this helps them to empty their bladder properly and makes sure they can poo as well if they need to
- Don't make a fuss if they have an accident but do praise them when they succeed