Back To School: Eczema Edition
Last updated: March 2023
School is back and that can mean an endless list of potential concerns to consider for caretakers and children with eczema. If you’re reading this as a caretaker then you should already know that your child is in good hands and will triumph through the school year because they have your support.
Spreading eczema awareness in school systems
Eczema is so common in children that it is truly a mystery why there is not a mandated guide book for teachers to be aware of triggers for students. Eczema is more than an allergic reaction for a nurse to simply a child having red puffy cheeks. It causes actual pain, discomfort and stress which is ultimately a distraction from learning. Until we get the help we deserve for our children from structured systems, here is an animated eczema guide book by the National Eczema Society that can be helpful to send to teachers.
My eczema insecurities in school
I have to admit that I do not remember many details of my grade-school experience when it comes to my eczema, except the often commonly shared stories of children with eczema wearing jackets in 90-degree weather insisting that they are not hot running in the playground. I specifically remember one time after school in the schoolyard with my mom forcing me to take my jacket off. Once I finally did I realized how much cooler I felt and it was not the end of the world as I continued playing. Something as simple as that is what an adult needs to be aware of when a child is hiding in plain sight. My mom was aware of my subtle ways and I was blessed to have her as a stay at home mother who even volunteered at my school often.
How I got through school with eczema
Maybe your child isn’t as subtle as I was with my insecurities and instead has emotional breakdowns and very obvious self-esteem issues over their eczema. Regardless of the dynamic, and as important it is to pay attention to these issues, I will share a couple of very simple ideas that powered me through my days.
Reassurance from my parents boosted my self-esteem
Reassurance from a loving parent. As a girl, my father’s attentiveness was important for my self-esteem. He may not have been the comforter in the same sense that my mother would massage and calm me for a good night's sleep, but his voice and choice of words were a guide of having a strong mind through the lows.
Befriending kids who were different or shy
Maybe you or your child are concerned about what other kids will say about their skin. As an extremely shy kid at the beginning of my schooling, I simply made friends with the kids that I sat next to in class. Honestly, I was so socially anxious or awkward, that when I first started school, I attached myself to other kids with physical disabilities. They had guidance with an aide in class and I liked having extra help in first grade, so I remember noticing other kids who were different or shy and connecting with them the most. For the shy kids with eczema, those kids will be your safe space. You will blossom and make more friends with time, but ultimately I believe having health issues gives you senses of where the good people are. It is an instinct that will guide your child, and as an adult, you just hope to be able to hold on to it.
Consistency is key
Although there is a lot to worry about when preparing for back to school season, if you remain consistent with your child’s training of taking care of themselves physically and mentally they will find their way in time and attract the right people as friends and more with your guidance.
How does your eczema reoccurring make you feel?