7 Tips for Parents
As parents, it can be a struggle to know what to do and when to do it, how to respond and react to flare-ups and how to best support our kids in their battles against atopic dermatitis. As advocates and caregivers, we must be on top of atopic dermatitis for our kids to teach them to do the same for themselves.
Tip # 1 - Consistency is key
Once you have finally found what works for your child, develop a routine for him or her products and stick to it! If it works, keep it consistent. If your child is old enough, teach them how to develop routines that work and consistently complete those procedures each day. Inconsistently using a product or using too many different products can have harsh effects on a child's atopic dermatitis.
Tip # 2 - Be an advocate for your child's health
Teach your child's babysitters, childcare providers, and family members how to treat your child's needs. Educate anyone who cares for your child the proper procedures and products for your child and requires that they use them as you have directed. Sometimes even the way you apply a product or the frequency with which you use it can make the difference between more and less frequent flare-ups for your child. Additionally mixing too many different products can irritate your child's skin or cause flare-ups as well. Childcare providers must be on the same page.
Tip #3 - Know your child's triggers and avoid them
Triggers may be lotions, creams, laundry detergent, soap, environment (temperature too hot, too cold, or pollen, grass, mold), stress, frequent scratching or other skin irritation, harsh smells, dust, smoke particles, and food (such as acidic foods, like tomatoes, nuts, wheat, etc.), and many others. Know what triggers your baby has and be mindful and proactive about avoiding them. Also be mindful of triggers that might exist when your baby is not in the home such as smoke in public areas or irritating materials, or cosmetics (kisses from family members).
Tip #4 - Do your due diligence
People will always offer opinions and suggestions but research is key! Do your research before you use any products know what is in everything you apply to your child's skin. Also, do research to know what not to use and what to use. Do not take anyone's word for it, even a doctor's suggestion without looking for yourself at credible websites and information to determine what works best for your child.
Tip #5 - One size does not fit all
There is no one size fits all when it comes to prevention for atopic dermatitis. Keep in mind that what works for others may not work for your child, even if it works for many others. Every child has different needs and different triggers as well as different skin types, therefore every child has different methods of prevention.
Tip #6 - The best treatment is love
Every child should see him or herself as beautiful and know that beauty comes from within and that having a flare-up does not alter his or her beauty internally or externally. Loving and appreciating who our children are no matter what their skin is like is vital because sometimes, the world can be unkind and unaccepting of differences. The foundation of confidence and self-esteem begins at home, so build it strong. Love your child unconditionally and they will love themselves in the same fashion.
Tip #7 - Gradual release of advocacy & care
Teach your child how to take care of and advocate for him or herself. Teach them to be proactive in their self-care by anticipating triggers and taking preventative measures when they can. Teach them to establish daily routines to take care of their skin and to be mindful or what they use on their skin at all times. It's easy to mindlessly grab the soap or eat the wrong food or to absentmindedly not think about some of the harmful triggers that may be in a particulate dish. Teach your child to be mindful of their triggers and take needed steps to prevent flare-ups. Make their body and their health their responsibility (when they're old enough to do so).
Most importantly: love your children and support them and their needs and keep in mind that while atopic dermatitis is an external ailment, it effects can be internal as well.
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