About one in every twelve children has asthma here in the United States. It’s a fairly common problem that comes with its own challenges based on your child’s individual case. However, there is one thing that every parent of a child with asthma tends to struggle with: teaching your child about asthma in a productive way.
As a top asthma doctor for children, Dr. Shukla has helped countless parents navigate these waters. With the high rates of asthma nowadays, it is more important than ever to get an early start on treatment.
Teaching Your Child about Asthma
It is important that your child understands the risks that are associated with asthma. Recognizing potential danger encourages them to ask for help when they start experiencing symptoms and emphasizes the importance of taking their medication as directed. At the same time, the purpose of teaching your child about their condition should never be to scare them. Rather, a productive conversation about asthma is a positive conversation that gives them the facts they need to know and instructs them on what tools they have to keep themselves safe. Here are just a few tips for making that conversation more effective.
Keep the Wording Simple
Asthma is a serious subject, so you’ll want to speak frankly with your child. Avoid complex terminology to improve their comprehension of the topic. Keep it simple by using kid-friendly illustrations to show how normal lungs work in comparison to their lungs during an asthma attack.
As they age, you can introduce more medical terminology to prepare them for dealing with asthma as an adult. For now, your ultimate goal is to make sure your child understands why it feels like they can’t breathe sometimes, what triggers cause that reaction, and what they can do to make it stop.
Enlist the Help of Your Child’s Doctor
Some children are less likely to listen to their parents when it comes to serious subjects. If that is the case with your child, then it may be helpful to bring in an authority figure that they recognize. Your pediatric pulmonologist in NYC is a great resource when it comes to educating your child about asthma.
On your next visit, you can always ask Dr. Shukla about what resources he uses to help educate children. You would be surprised at how many children’s books and YouTube videos have been made with children just like yours in mind. Even if your child seems to be listening and taking your advice seriously, there’s no harm in revisiting the topic with the occasional video or picture book. They won’t understand everything about asthma in one go, so take your time and build on that initial foundation.
Maintain an Empowering Message
It is very easy for an informative conversation to become a scary one. Throughout your discussions with your child centralize the idea that they have the power to control their asthma. This can be difficult if their asthma isn’t under control yet.
If that’s the case, then frame getting their asthma under control as a team effort that you can both achieve as long as you work with your doctor. Discuss the importance of long-term medications and avoiding key triggers. Regardless of how bad their asthma is, you don’t want them to ever feel powerless. Instead, try to show them that there are always steps they can take to live the life they want.
Finding the Right Words
It is always difficult to toe the line between taking precautions and instilling fear when you’re discussing something as potentially dangerous as an asthma attack. By showing your child that they have some control over their condition, you’re making it easier for them to process that potential danger. If you’re not sure of how to broach the subject with your child, then have a meeting with your child’s asthma doctor to discuss the topic together.