How to Help Your Child Cope With Eczema
I know the effects of eczema because I lived with them. I had to screen friends’ houses for pets because I was so allergic and a flare-up was a given if I encountered a family pet. Kids laughed at me and asked me what was wrong with me. I avoided pictures during a flare-up. I didn’t feel pretty. It is tough enough being a teenager and add eczema to the mix and forget it. My son, Ryan, is almost 10 and has been living with eczema his whole life. I didn’t want him to ever feel bad about it or like something was wrong with him. I want to share some of the tips I use to making living with eczema bearable.
Tips for parents and caregivers
- Talk to your child: From an early age Ryan has known exactly what eczema is. He was so little we named it “eczy”. This almost makes it sound cute. I can remember saying “don’t scratch your eczy patch.” It wasn’t long before my entire family called it “eczy”. “How is Ryan’s eczy?” “His eczy looks good.” I love that it became the norm. I think talking with your child is the most useful thing we can do as a parent. I told Ryan all about my eczema. I talked to him about when he had flare-ups as a baby. He used to love imaginary stories about coyotes. His favorite coyote story is that a coyote snuck in the hospital room and gave him eczema. We are still looking for that coyote. Point is: talk to your child about eczema. Make them feel okay about it.
- Be consistent with care: Parents, do you ever get tired at the end of the night? I hope you’re saying yes. If not, you should be writing blogs on “how not to be tired at the end of the night.” There is so much…” did we give the vitamin?” “Any tests?” “Is homework done?” “What is for dinner?” “Who needs a ride?” The point here is… out of sight of mind, right? That doesn’t work for eczema. Even if there isn’t a flare-up, you still must moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! Trust me, I don’t want to be the one to add something to do your to-do list because I get it!! But this one is a must. Don’t forget to moisturize!
- Build Confidence: This might sound like a no-brainer as a parent but I wanted to add it. My son is completely different than my daughter. She tells me everything!! Sometimes I worry that Ryan’s eczema does bother him and he maybe he is trying to be “tough” or maybe he is embarrassed. Boys need to be complimented, too. I always tell him “you’re so handsome”, “I love your freckles”, “how did your eyes get so cute?” I want him to know that a little “eczy patch” doesn’t take away from his amazing attributes.
These are just my top 3. I have tried lots. I communicate with parents and teachers. Like anything in life, I think an open and honest dialogue can go a long way!
What suggestions have worked for you and your child? What tips do you have to offer?
How does your mental health relate to your physical health?