Most asthmatic children can fully participate in sports and other activities as long as they monitor their condition. However, there are times when you as the parent, may have to say “no.” It’s never easy, but your child’s well-being takes priority over any disappointment on their part or discomfort on yours.
When should you say “no” to a child with asthma?
We understand that children don’t like to be singled out from their peers, but there are times when their health is more important. When you must take a stand, make sure to explain why and offer alternatives but be prepared to hold firm.
1. When the doctor says to “take it slow.”
Your child’s physician will want to monitor asthma symptoms and triggers. To test the findings or based upon the patterns that emerge, your doctor might ask your child to abstain from certain activities, even for a time.
By keeping in close communication with your child’s doctor and monitoring your child’s condition, you can gain a clearer picture of what sets off an attack and how to avoid them. In the end, this will give your child more freedom and you will be able to say “yes” more often.
2. When your asthmatic child is overdoing it.
A young child may not have the maturity to know when it’s time to take a break. Since play is the natural exercise of childhood, it’s easy for a youngster to get absorbed in their fun and not realize they are having trouble breathing.
Regular exercise is important for health, even for those with asthma. However, it can put a strain on those with chronic lung conditions. If participation in physical activity is triggering breathing issues, then you may have to insist on some downtime and rest. Reevaluate their current activity and perhaps consider something different.
3. When you start seeing patterns.
As time goes on, you will start to see patterns in your child’s asthma condition. As a parent, you will know what might set off an attack or recognize the signs that one is imminent. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries that will help your little one avoid those triggers.
Triggers You Can Control
As a parent, you may not be able to control the fact that your child has asthma, but you do have control over certain situations.
1. Bad Air Quality
You may not be able to control the quality of the air outdoors, but you can control indoor air quality. Most weather reports include a smog or pollen report for those with allergies and asthma. If it looks like the air quality outside will not be good, plan indoor play dates or activities for your child.
Once again, exercise ought not to be avoided, but when participation in strenuous activities is triggering your child’s asthma symptoms, it is time to consider participation in a more low impact activity.
Anxiety is something that can trigger your child’s asthma symptoms. Talk to asthmatic children about coping with stress and ways to eliminate anxiety. Always encourage them to talk over their feelings with yourself or another authority figure.
For children with asthma, allergies can often set off an attack. Some common substances that a child with asthma may struggle with are pollen, dust, pet dander, and smoke. Have your child tested by an allergist and talk to your doctor about the best ways to treat both the allergy and asthma.
5. Weather Changes
Changes in weather can affect a child’s asthma. If your child struggles with this, keeping him indoors in an air-conditioned building can help. Often humid weather is a problem for children with asthma, so keeping a dehumidifier in your home can be helpful as well.
As much as a child may love animals, some animal fur and dander can trigger a child’s asthma symptoms. If this is the case for your child, then you may need to decide to give up a family pet. If that is not an option, then you should take steps to keep your house clean and free of the pet’s fur. It’s might be best to remove carpet and keep the pet out of your child’s room and especially off of your child’s bed.
Saying No to Others
The health of your child is more important than the feelings of others. You have the right to step in if friends, teachers, etc. are asking something of your child that is dangerous to their lung health.
For example, if your child is being asked to participate in a physically demanding activity that is causing his asthma symptoms to worsen, then it is time to confront those expectations and replace them with something that is more in line with keeping your child’s asthma under control.
You are your child’s greatest defense against asthma. By teaching them to manage their condition and helping them to know when “no” is the right answer, they can successfully live with the condition.