Six Tips to Manage your Child’s Epilepsy

The typical concerns of loving, protective parents are usually magnified for the mom or dad of a child with epilepsy.  

The threat of seizures tends to make parents extra anxious about being away from their child when they are at school or visiting friends and family members. Parenting itself can be a challenge, too, living with such a delicate situation.  

Here are six tips and tactics to hopefully help everyone in your life feel less overwhelmed:  

Avoid common seizure triggers 

Some of the most prominent seizure triggers in a child with epilepsy include high fevers, missed medication, photosensitivity, and a lack of sleep. These areas of your child’s life are important to keep an extra close eye on. When it comes to photosensitivity and flashing or flickering lights, it’s best for children to avoid sitting too close to a screen and to take frequent breaks from their devices.  

Stay positive and discuss epilepsy openly with your child  

Keeping an open dialogue with your child may keep them upbeat when it comes to living with the disease. Make sure they know as much as possible about epilepsy, and, if you have multiple kids, teach their siblings about epilepsy as well. You’ll also want to listen to your child’s concerns and talk to them regularly about their seizures and their feelings. Destigmatizing the disorder could go a long way for your child’s mental state. For more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Body and Mind website designed a facts and advice page designed to be read by children age 9 to 12.  

Encourage interests and sociability  

Living a full, active life is fully possible for people with epilepsy, who have gone on to work in medicine, play sports, work for the government, act and much more. Children and teens with epilepsy can participate in nearly every sport as long as their coaches are aware of the seizures and safety precautions, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Encourage your child to grow up the same way their peers do.   

Become more routine-oriented  

Establishing structure and routine is never a bad idea for anyone, but it can be especially beneficial for a child with epilepsy. As mentioned above, outlining a consistent medication schedule and bedtime to avoid seizure triggers is important. Try setting aside a daily time for homework each day, as well.  

Build a support network for your child and family  

There are plenty of resources at your disposal when you need someone to lean on, even if you don’t personally know another parent experiencing your plight. This includes the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. Physically located on Telegraph Road, the organization offers a helpline, virtual wellness conferences, epilepsy awareness and first aid trainings, self-management programs and much more. Visit epilepsymichigan.org to learn more.   

Your child’s doctor or other professionals they interact with, such as a school nurse or social worker, could also make for a good confidant.  

Take “me” time  

Devotion to a child with epilepsy can take its mental toll, so enjoying your own personal respite from time to time is recommended. Do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself; Allowing your batteries to recharge will make you more physically and mentally available to your child.    

For more information, including tips on managing your teen’s epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation website’s page dedicated to teens with the condition 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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