If you're like most parents with a child who suffers from sleep apnea, chances are that you notice symptoms of the problem in the form of sleep walking, bed wetting, or even attention deficit disorder. Your little one may be able to get better rest with the help of a CPAP machine, but getting them to actually wear it can be a challenge. Here are a few methods you can implement to make using CPAP equipment easier on your child:

Practice, Practice, Practice!

One of the most effective ways to get your child used to their CPAP machine and mask is to desensitize them to the equipment during the day when they are not actually in need of it. Start by simply placing the CPAP mask on your child and letting them get used to the feel of it. Then use these steps:

  • With the mask on your child's face, connect the hose to just one side of the cap and turn the CPAP machine on for just 5 seconds.
  • Take a short rest and then turn the machine on for 10 seconds.
  • Take one more short rest before turning the machine on again for an entire minute before turning it back off.

Once your child is used to the machine's function with the hose hooked up to just one of the caps, hook the second cap up and then turn the machine on for a full minute, three or four times in a row with a short rest in between. This session should be done at least once each day until your child is fully comfortable with the equipment.

Participate Once in Awhile

Your little one may be more willing to use the CPAP equipment if you are willing to use it as well. Don't be afraid to put the equipment on yourself before you start the desensitizing sessions or before bed at night. Just a few seconds of use is all it takes to increase your child's confidence.

Get Crafty With the Mask

Help your child customize their CPAP mask so that they feel like it's their own personal equipment made especially for their needs. Decorating the mask will also help to make it look less scary when it comes time to put it on. Here are a few décor ideas to consider:

  • Paint rainbows or colorful characters on the mask.
  • Use paper mache to cover the base of the mask.
  • Incorporate designs made with different colored permanent markers.

You can also superglue ribbons and decorative pins on the mask or simply give your child a book of stickers to go crazy with!

Offer Some Reprieve

While its best that your child wears their CPAP machine on a nightly basis to optimize rest, letting them get away without wearing it once in awhile is a great reward for wearing it without complaint at all other times. If your child is reluctant to wear their CPAP mask every night, consider making a deal in which they can skip a night of wearing it after every 7 or 8 nights of wearing it in a row.

Provide Some Praise!

Keep your little one motivated to wear their CPAP mask by praising them every time they put it on. This reminds them just how important using the equipment is whether they really want to or not. Consider implementing one or more of these ideas too:

  • Give your little one a new coloring book and crayons once a month if they're good with their mask.
  • Provide your child's favorite meal for breakfast after a successful night of mask wearing.
  • Mark off each calendar day that your child wears their mask without complaint and after 14 straight days, take them to the movies!

If you make using the CPAP equipment fun once in awhile you'll find that your child is even willing to put their mask on themselves before bed without having to be asked.

Keep communication open with your child throughout the process of learning how to use the CPAP equipment from places like http://www.cornermedical.com because many times they'll tell you exactly what will motivate them to use it on a nightly basis.