Children can be naive to their own pain or discomfort at times, so it’s important that as the parent, you know how to help and check-in on your child’s headaches or migraines. Migraine and headache disorders are common in children, with as many as one in every ten school-aged kids suffering from migraines. Although most children outgrow their headaches, some will continue to have them into adulthood. There are a number of things parents can do to help their children deal with migraines and other types of headaches. Here is a list of eight ways you can help your kid:
- Keep a headache diary. This can help you and your child identify any patterns or triggers for the headaches. It is also great practice in general to engrain in your child. Recording your own health status and how you’re feeling daily or weekly can greatly contribute to improved health and self-awareness. Make sure to also keep track of what relieves the pain so that you can work on prevention strategies together with your child's healthcare provider.
- Encourage your child to eat regular meals and get enough sleep. Skipping meals or not getting enough sleep can trigger migraines in some people. It’s important to note that sleep and nutrition can effect each other and if your child isn’t getting sleep it is worth checking in on their diet and vice versa.
- Stress is a common cause of headaches and migraines. Help your child relax with stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. These can be fun family activities on weekends or quick daily breathing activities to do in the car before school. As long as their is consistency to them, that’s what is most important!
- Avoid bright lights and loud noises, which can aggravate headaches in some people. If your child is sensitive to light, keep sunglasses handy for when they need them. Make sure they’re cool sunglasses though! Also, be sure to see an optometrist and make sure your child isn’t having blurred vision. They might simply need glasses or contacts!
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines.
- Specific foods may trigger headaches or migraines, such as those high in sugar, salt, artificial additives, or caffeine. Encourage your child to keep track of which foods they’re consuming around when they get headaches or migraines. They can record this in their diary.
- Encourage regular physical activity as it can help reduce stress levels and improve overall health, which may help reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines. Getting your child involved in a sport might help them to release stress.
- Avoid letting your children spend too much time in front of screens – this includes television screens, computer screens, gaming devices etc.. Excessive screen time has been linked with an increased risk of developing headaches and migraines in children.
As children grow, they are constantly changing and developing. Sometimes, these changes are so many and occur so rapidly that it can be difficult to keep track. If you start to notice your child rubbing their temples or squinting often, or if they mention headaches, don’t hesitate to take it seriously. It is extremely important for parents to keep track of their kid's health and know how to help them with headaches. Use these eight steps to help your child with their headaches and migraines!