Six Tips for Parenting with a Migraine

How to better cope with migraines while caring for your kids.

Your medication is as essential as all of the supplies your kids will need when you venture out.

• Many children might learn from—and even enjoy—playing nurse to their own parents.

• It’s important not to bring guilt into the equation, as that’ll just add emotional pain to the physical.

 

Experiencing a migraine as a parent can be especially unpleasant. In addition to considering your own health, you also have to worry about taking care of your children, who don’t necessarily grasp your pain.

Although the situation isn’t easy, there are a few steps you can take to make parenting with a migraine more manageable:

Always Bring Your Migraine Medication. It’s tough to predict when a migraine is going to occur, but you can make sure you’re prepared. Getting stuck without the migraine medications that have been recommended by your doctor is bad enough when you’re alone, and can be worse if your kid is with you. Remembering to bring your migraine medication is as essential as bringing all of the supplies your kids will need when you venture out.

Keep Trusted People on Deck. You may be the kind of parent who wants to do it all. But when a migraine occurs, you’ll likely need someone to pinch hit. Whether it’s one of your siblings or parents, or even a nanny who’s willing to stay late if you have a debilitating migraine, talk to the trusted adults in your life and know who you can call when you need some help.

Get Your Kids Involved. Migraine pain can cut down on your enjoyment of family time, but there are ways to be with your children even during a migraine. For example, you might turn down the lights and ask your little ones to practice reading stories to you, or sit in the play area with your toddlers while they play around you. 

Just as you tend to your kids when they’re sick, many children learn from—and even enjoy—playing nurse to their own parents. So if they’re capable, let them bring you an ice pack and help you feel better.

Don’t Indulge in Guilt. It’s easy to feel guilty because your migraine pain is requiring your family to change plans or stop helping as much around the house. But it’s important not to bring guilt into the equation, as that’ll just add emotional pain to the physical migraine pain. Remind yourself that there are other unexpected things that can change plans last minute, such as bad weather, a work project or changed deadline; migraines aren’t the only things that interrupt schedules.

Dole Out Responsibility. When you’re experiencing migraine pain, it can be a lifesaver for your kids to understand how to take care of themselves in small ways. Obviously, you should only leave your children to their own devices as long as it’s safe, but empowering an elementary schooler to choose their own clothes or pour their own cereal when you’re experiencing migraine symptoms will not only help you, but will also start to teach valuable lessons about self-sufficiency.

Explain the Situation. You don’t want to scare your children about your health, or about their potential future if they come to inherit migraines, but it’s important that they learn what’s happening to you. Draw a parallel to a time they weren’t feeling well. Remind them how they appreciated people’s understanding and care, and explain that you’d appreciate those things, too.

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