Looking after a child with a chronic health problem can be tough. You may find it hard to juggle appointments, special diets or their medicine.
More than anything, you want your child to feel supported as they deal with the challenges of their condition.
In this article, we offer advice for supporting a child with a chronic health condition. Knowing these tips will make you feel more confident in your role and will reflect in the quality of life of your child with a chronic health problem.
What is a chronic health condition?
A chronic health condition is one that lasts for a long period of time. A general rule is at least three months.
Examples of chronic health conditions include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Congenital heart disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
What effect does a chronic health condition have on a child?
A child with chronic health conditions may be affected in different ways.
A condition such as cerebral palsy may limit the physical activities they can take part in, for example.
It’s common for children with a chronic health condition to feel “different” from others. This may be especially true if they have had to take time off school for hospital stays.
Your child’s chronic health condition may also impact on other family members. Siblings may feel jealous of the attention, worried about the condition or even embarrassed or guilty.
How can I support my child?
Your support will be invaluable to your child and help them to thrive. There are lots of ways you can offer it. Let’s take a look at how.
Support a healthy diet
Some chronic health conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or allergy, mean that your child must follow a special diet.
Take time to research recipes and ways of making food fun. You can also eat some of their “special” food yourself to help your child feel supported.
If your child is going to a party, explain to the host beforehand that they will need to eat different food. Encourage your child to understand why they must avoid certain foods and make sure they know what they can eat.
Even if your child does not have to follow a special diet, encourage them to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to support their general wellbeing.
Taking supplements is a great way to encourage your child to stay healthy.
Some are designed to support children with chronic conditions. For example, Biotic Jnr. can help manage eczema and mild allergies as well as aid healthy digestion.
Multivitamins for children are also a fantastic way to ensure your child gets the vitamins and minerals they need.
Make exercise fun
Exercise is essential for everyone, with or without chronic health conditions.
If it’s difficult for your child to take part in activities, get some advice from your health professional on what kind of exercise they can do safely.
Above all, make exercise fun. Activities such as dancing, swimming or yoga all appeal to children, and there’s no reason why you can’t join in, too!
Practise good hygiene
If your child’s chronic condition means that they get sick often, help them to practise good hygiene.
Encourage the use of hand sanitiser and face masks. To get them into good habits, use sanitiser regularly yourself so it is part of your daily routine and wear a face mask when you go out. Why not wear matching face masks to make the whole experience more fun?
Join a support group
If your child is struggling with the emotional impact of their health condition, you can join a local support group to connect with other families facing the same challenges.
This will give you the chance to share tips and give each other moral support. Your child will feel less lonely, and you will be more confident dealing with their condition.
Wear an awareness bracelet
A medical awareness bracelet can help your child feel confident about their condition.
Available in a range of attractive colours, medical awareness bracelets can be customised with your child’s condition and other important information that is useful in an emergency.
Let your child choose their favourite colour and watch them wear their bracelet with pride!
Proactive about healthcare and wellbeing
FeverMates stock a range of products that can help support your child with a chronic health condition.
We believe in being proactive about healthcare and wellbeing, so why not browse our shop for our complete range? It’s the first step to a more confident way of supporting your child’s chronic health condition.