Archives for posts with tag: Health

Bedwetting is nothing to be ashamed about. You are certainly not somehow a bad parent because your child does not stay dry through the night, so stop that thought right now.

Children will also often feel unhappy or inadequate about it already, so there is nothing to be achieved by having it pointed out to them that ‘other children have stopped wetting their bed’ or that it is in any way the child’s fault. Just for a moment imagine the embarrassment of a child who still experiences bedwetting, whilst at a sleepover. That sounds pretty awful, you’ll agree.

In general daytime wetting stops at about three years of age, whilst stopping wetting the bed at night will end by about five. It is common for bedwetting to continue infrequently after this. Bedwetting can also occur when the family or the child is experiencing something stressful such as divorce or some sort unpleasant event. 

Why does my child wet the bed?

Bedwetting is not about laziness or necessarily a call for attention or a sign of weakness. Bedwetting may also happen more in families where siblings or even parents wet their beds, with some studies even suggesting a genetic disposition for bedwetting. Bedwetting may have a medical cause or be related to sensitivity to certain foods. Consult your doctor about any such concerns. Perhaps your child is a heavy sleeper and does not immediately wake up when feeling that their bladder is full? Be aware of possible explanations for bedwetting.

Hypnotherapy can help in a number of ways. Your child may not notice that signal that their bladder is full. Hypnotherapy will help them become more sensitive to that signal and wake up so they can go to the toilet. Hypnotherapy is also very effective for controlling habits or changing patterns of behaviour. In some cases bedwetting may have continued since it does indeed get your attention and in big families or when parents are very busy, a child will use all sorts of ways to get your attention. This is not something selfish but really a normal desire to spend time with you and feel loved. However your child can, with some help, speak up in other ways rather than getting you to take notice by bedwetting. You may also wish to consider how much quality time you spend daily with your children.

Once a child is past about five years of age, bed wetting will become an increasing embarrassing issue. Self esteem can be affected since the child will wonder why other ‘normal’ children do not wet the bed at night. Your child may then feel down about this ongoing challenge. Raising self esteem using hypnotherapy will  give you a happy child. It will also give you a confident child who feels and knows that bedwetting is not a big deal. Reducing that feeling of pressure will speed up up the process of ending bedwetting as well.

What you can do

Firstly, as a parent you can reassure your child that bedwetting is not a big deal and that you are in this challenge together. It is nothing to be ashamed about. You may also feel comfortable mentioning if it was a problem for you as a child. Of course use your judgement. It might help your child to know that they are not alone and it happens to others as well.

There are practical tips such as reducing consumption of drinks late at night. It can also be useful to explain what is happening as well. Perhaps mention that right now your child’s bladder is still growing and isn’t quite big enough to hold all the wee, but as they grow up, very soon, it will get bigger and this will all stop happening, there is no need to be concerned. I leave it to you to create your explanation.

It is in general better to ensure the bed has a plastic cover rather than putting your child into thick underpants or nappies. If your child is aware that they are wearing special nappies this may affect how they feel about themselves. They will also know that they do not need to get up to go the toilet since the nappy will absorb any fluid. This may prolong bedwetting.

Ensure you give reassurance after any accidents and that your child has a shower in the morning, so they are fresh and clean for the day. Do not make young children clean up after an accident since they may then feel that they are being punished, adding shame to the embarrassment they may already feel.

Before a sleepover you may wish to inform the parent of the home where the sleepover will be about what is going on. Then also let your child know that they can speak with that parent in confidence and privately should an accident happen. If you do not feel the parent will be sensitive, you may wish to consider other options.

For help for bedwetting and more about hypnotherapy get in touch today.


“My child has nightmares, what can I do?”, is a question many parents ask and is extremely common. Children having nightmares is of course not always just the result of watching scary films either. A child having nightmares may be a one off event or it could also be a sign of other problems, be it finding school work hard, being bullied or feeling stress in some way.

If your child does not sleep well, consider also aspects of diet and exercise and whether in general your child is healthy and fit. Sleep is very important and children of course need many more hours than adults and those hours of sleep need to be of good quality as well.

Why does a child have nightmares?

Both children and adults dream for more or less the same reasons. With clients whom I help with decreasing nightmares, I like to think of dreaming at night as a way for the subconscious to clear away the unresolved thoughts from that day. To  decrease the frequency and intensity of nightmares, we can look at the specific images seen or also look at the bigger picture and context of what is happening in day to day life.

Our minds are full of so many images and ideas that our brains need to crunch and process. During sleep and dreaming our subconscious minds filter and play with all the loose ends and thoughts we have ignored during our waking hours. When asleep our imagination can also run a little wild as well and our thoughts can have more freedom to express themselves. Your child will therefore dream about issues and experiences which he or she was unable to completely feel at peace with on a conscious level during the day.

Does your child have repetitive dreams?

Just like an adult, a child dreams at night about experiences both enjoyable and painful that happened during the day. If your child fears separation or fears starting school or experienced something unpleasant, these may all find expression in dreams. This can feel very disturbing for your child, especially since our dreams can feel so real.

The interpretation of your dreams or your child’s dreams may be complicated and subject to much conjecture. I would however recommend keeping it simple. Let’s remember that often the meaning of a dream may simply be more about what, in general, is happening or about the events which happened during the previous day. Of course some images seen in dreams are just simply there because that face or picture was seen the previous day and has little real importance. I’m sure you may have watched a film or spoken to a friend and found that they then, as if by magic, appeared in a dream that evening. If your child is having nightmares, it is the particular disturbing scene or image that is important. If you feel strong emotions during a dream, whether those emotions are positive or negative, these emotions point to where you need to be looking for answers.

Any child having nightmares or disturbed sleep is right now an unhappy child in some way, simple as that. This might be due to something that will pass quickly or may be due to an ongoing stress. Nightmares can feel disturbing since the dreamer feels powerless to do anything about it and feels like it is something external, happening to them and not under their control. Ensure you give your child reassurance that it was just a dream and not real. Ask also about how your child is doing and feeling. How are they feeling about school, friends and home?

Hypnotherapy can help your children with a whole range of challenges. Perhaps you had not considered hypnotherapy as something which might help your children, however hypnotherapy can be very effective and children as very receptive to hypnotherapy as well.

How can hypnotherapy help children?

Hypnotherapy can be used to help with nail biting, anxiety, behavioural problems at school or at home, thumb sucking,  exam nerves and test anxiety, sleep difficulties including nightmares, improving confidence, overeating or compulsive behaviour, fears and phobias such as fearing going to the dentist, needles, heights etc, coping with bullying. Hypnotherapy can also help with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as well as coping better with ADHD and aspects of Tourette Syndrome.

Do all Hypnotherapists work with children?

Not all hypnotherapists work with children. Many hypnotherapists specialise in an area, be it weight reduction, overeating or perhaps smoking. However not all therapists work with children. It is advisable to check that the therapist you choose is experienced with children and this may mean that they have a background in teaching or have worked with children before. Ensure also that they have  undergone the appropriate legal background checks. In the UK, this is normally referred to as a CRB check, which are now called DBS (Disclosure and barring service) checks.

What Can I expect during sessions?

Before coming to the session, the hypnotherapist will speak with you, the parent, to get all necessary background information. You will be able and encouraged to stay for at the least the beginning of the first session and it is very normal for parents to remain for the entire length of the session. However, you are there for support and the hypnotherapist will be working with your child, so do your best to only really speak when asked and do not answer on behalf of your child if the hypnotherapist addresses your child directly with a question. However, it is very important that you feel confident and happy with sessions, so I would recommend asking all questions you have and perhaps also ‘checkin-in’ with the therapist between sessions, if you want to discuss anything at all.

Does Hypnotherapy work well with children?

Hypnotherapy sessions often also involve talking as well as guided visualisations, so be prepared that a lot of the time will feel like a regular counselling session. However at some point the therapist will ask your child to close his/her eyes and imagine some images and give them some things to think about to help with whatever is bothering them or challenging them. Children enjoy using their imagination and also have not normally seen stage hypnosis on television. This means that children do not normally have the fears that adults have that they will be asked to ‘cluck like a chicken’ or made to look silly or lose control. These are all features of stage hypnosis but do not apply to clinical hypnosis. During clinical hypnotherapy the client can open their eyes whenever they wish and normally can hear every word being said. Also children spend a lot of their day in a bit of a daze and enjoy daydreaming. This means that they more easily go into a trance, since they are more used to using their imaginations. I have personally found that whereas with adults I need to relax them and talk them gently into a very relaxed state, which can take as much as ten minutes, children are often already relaxed enough that within just a few minutes they are ready to start some guided visualisations about what they wish to work on.


Anxiety and exam nerves seem to be a part of children’s lives in ways that forty or fifty years ago were more or less unheard of. Exam nerves can come up for a weekly spelling test, but now with teacher performance being based more and more on pupil performance, children are feeling anxious and nervous about exam performance.

How can you help reduce exam nerves and text anxiety? Here are some quick tips to help children with fears such as exam nerves

=Let your child know that it’s okay to be imperfect

It is rare for one particular test to have lifelong meaning and let’s be honest, perfection is never possible to achieve all the time. We want our children to do their best and feel pride in what they do, and that’s even when they don’t get the grades you expect. Remember that exam nerves will be bigger, and self esteem lower, if, when your child achieves 95% or an A-, and your response is, “why didn’t you get 100% or an A+?” Children soon learn that what they have done is not good enough. Children need to feel good about what they have done rather than feel depressed and guilty about what they didn’t manage to do. Children always want to please their parents and they look to you for praise and positive reinforcement. This means that your questions about why they didn’t do better may be taken as criticism rather than a form of constructive questioning, despite your good intentions. Remember, kids need to be kids and grades can sometimes take a backseat when mental health is at stake.

=Focus on the positives

When your child complains that they can’t do anything or that they failed at something, say something empathetic. Then ask them about the positives. Could they answer any questions? Find something to be proud of or at least don’t get caught in a spiral of negative thinking. Let’s not go to the negative and let’s keep the glass half full rather than half empty. If your child has strong exam nerves, you might together consider choosing a more realistic goal to aim for rather than getting 100%. You might aim for one section of the material to be examined, or, after consulting with the teacher, together aim for a more realistic percentage.

=Give your child real relaxation time

Watching television is not very relaxing and nor are computers. In fact research shows that computers, laptops and tablet screens stimulate you. Relaxation is about relaxing your mind, body and muscles. This can be by gentle exercise, for some children team sports, perhaps a walk, meditation or more meditative practices such as Chi qong, yoga or Ti chi. Children often also find creative activities involving art, dance, writing or reading also to be great for calm and relaxation. What happened to playing board games? Also being with friends is often great for turning off from the stress of school (and home). You can also practice relaxation techniques with your child. This can include visualising walking in countryside or a beach or calming breathing techniques. I run a fun relaxation and de-stress meditation programme for children, in London. So please get in touch if you would like more details.

=Model good behaviour

There is no use preaching to your child to not be so nervous when you talk (out of earshot as well) about your high expectations or about how stressed you are about things. Learn to have a more relaxed attitude yourself and your child will learn that this is how you react to fears and anxiety. If you have exam nerves about a school test, then so will your child. Children feel the moods and emotions circulating in the atmosphere at home. Modelling good behaviour also means that you show your children that you take care of your health and wellbeing as well. If your child sees that you prioritise ‘me time’ and that you sit to eat good food, exercise, and take time to relax, then this will send positive messages about self care to them as well. Exam nerves decrease if you, the parent, are not stressful to be around.

=Reward open communication and courage

If your child shares with you, reward that. If your child faces his or her fears reward that with something fun and tangible. This is not a bribe but positive reinforcement. If it is appropriate, perhaps mention that you, your partner or someone your child respects, will come along to give moral support and perhaps then mention something fun that you will all do afterwards. Sometimes just suggesting this shows enough belief in your child’s abilities that they feel enough courage to go for it alone. Tell them that you believe they can do it and give evidence and a smile as well. Remember that every time your child shows courage by doing something new, that will add units of confidence as well. Courage can sometimes come from seeing and hearing that you, their parent, believe in their ability to do something. Give positive encouragement. Exam nerves can be more easily overcome when your child feels you are on his or her side.

=Encourage your child to face his or her fears and speak about how they feel

We all want to avoid tests and unpleasant situations. I’m sure that like me, when at school, you occasionally feigned illness to avoid going to school when you had a test or a coursework deadline. Yet after paracetamol and some daytime television you were magically fully recovered the next day!

If your child seems worried or scared, do your best to avoid saying things like, “You’re fine”, or “Don’t be silly”. This will help you push the issue aside but it won’t help your child. In effect you are actually telling your child that their experience, in particular the fears he or she are feeling, are ‘silly’, invalid or out of place. Your child will then feel that you are not really acknowledging and listening to them or understand what they are going through. Don’t then be surprised when, after a few years, they stop sharing their feelings with you! If they are anxious, fearful or have, for example, exam nerves or test anxiety, simply ask, “What (about the test) are you worried about?”

Have a discussion about what your child is worried about. Simply talking about how they feel will reduce your child’s exam nerves or test anxiety or whatever fears they have. Talking directly about and facing fears will show your child that the situation is not as horrific as they thought.

=Stay calm, help is at hand

Speak with your child’s teachers and also whether your child is gifted, in need of special help or Joe average, the school’s special educational needs department (SENCO) may have resources or advice for you. Speak to other parents as well. Your GP will also have advice on how to de-stress. I also help children with anxiety, exam nerves and stress at home or at school.

Does your child have anxiety?

Do you suspect that your child is unhappy or feeling anxious or stressed? Here are some quick tips to help you investigate what is going on.

Anxiety is of course often a scary word. Anxiety is normally something we associate with adults going through a major crisis such as a divorce or redundancy. However, children and teens also feel anxious.  Children feel anxious since, though it may technically be your divorce or stressful episode, they are going through it as well. You may not see this directly but notice changes such as bed wetting, your child acting in a moody way, being withdrawn or quiet or perhaps finding it hard to work or concentrate at school.

Some children are of course open about how they feel. They will tell you that they feel anxious, or at least that they are very upset. However many children, when  anxious, may bottle it up and remain silent. For some children the anxiety will only be noticeable by his or her insomnia, poor behaviour, moodiness or lower marks at school.

Here are some quick tips to help a child who may be anxious or suffering from anxiety

= It is perfectly okay to simply ask directly how your child feels. In fact many children may assume that you somehow already know how they feel and so won’t tell you openly unless asked directly. Some children make this assumption and then feel even worse when not asked about what is going on. It can be useful to ask and also, as a side comment, mention that you cannot always guess what they are feeling. Of course say this in a loving way. Remember that asking your child directly shows them that you care about how they feel. Showing a child that you care about how they feel will help your child to feel loved. Feeling loved will help reduce your child’s level of stress and anxiety almost immediately.

= Tell your child that it is okay to have those feelings. You can do this by repeating back what they said, but by changing the sentence structure. For example, if your ten year old says, “I really hate maths, I think the teacher doesn’t like me”. You can repeat back, “I didn’t realise you were having such a hard time in maths, and it not surprising that you don’t want to do your homework if you dislike the teacher”. This may sound obvious, however many parents feel they are intruding or that the child will be okay and just needs to ‘get on with it.’ Taking on such a stoic, ‘stiff upper lip’ approach may well reflect on how the parent him/herself tend to personally deal ( or not deal) with stress or anxiety, rather than the most healthy approach.

=Refrain from giving advice early on in the conversation. It is incredibly important to just simply acknowledge that whatever you child is feeling at the present time is okay and normal to feel. It is okay, no matter what your child is currently feeling. You can do this, by saying something like, “I’m not surprised you are feeling so angry, I think that if someone said that to me, I’d be very upset too.”

=Try your best to refrain from saying upbeat comments, such ‘cheer up’ or go into a whole explanation about how what you are feeling is somehow worse. This is about your child’s feelings, not about yours! The main aim is to empathise with your child and express that you understand what he or she is saying and going through. You need to communicate that whatever they are feeling is completely fine.

=Often children fear that what they are feeling is somehow unimportant, invalid, or not as important as what everyone else (often you) is feeling or going through. The most important response with an anxious child is to say that you understand what they are going through, it’s normal and okay, that they can tell you and that you love them.

=Remember that often all a child really needs is to feel that they have been heard by you. After they have described how they are feeling and you have responded, giving them a big loving hug is always a good move.

=Sit together and try to be as honest and realistic as possible about what your child is worrying about. If, for example, they are worried about a grandparent’s health, discuss with them, in very general terms, what is happening. These conversations involve picking and choosing what to say and also assessing what is appropriate for the child in question. The main idea is for the child to feel understood and they have some idea about what is happening. Deciding how much to tell your child is always a complicated decision. If you need to come up with a plan of action, do so in a way in which your child feels a part of the process and that their concerns are taken into account as well.

Good luck 🙂