Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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Talking to your child about their asthma is important. Children need to understand what is happening to them, especially if they have a condition like asthma that can cause potentially frightening symptoms. However, it can be difficult to know what to say, especially if you are only just learning about the condition yourself.

boy with inhaler

Be Prepared

You need to feel confident in your own knowledge of asthma and your ability to answer your child’s questions before you talk to them. You can learn more about the condition from your doctor, other parents, and asthma groups or charities online. You should prepare to answer the following questions in a way that your child will understand:

  • What is asthma?
  • Why does your child have it?
  • What are the inhalers for and why are they important?
  • How might asthma affect your child?

However, don’t worry if you aren’t able to explain everything. If you don’t know the answer to your child’s question then you can tell them you will find out.

Sitting Down for a Chat

Once you feel ready to talk to your child, set aside some time in a quiet place where they will feel comfortable. It can be a good idea to talk over a snack so that your child doesn’t feel too self-conscious. If your child isn’t ready to talk then don’t force them. Try again later.

 What to Say

Explaining asthma can be difficult, especially for younger children or those who want answers to difficult questions such as why they have it. You won’t always be able to give a satisfying answer and your child may feel upset about their condition at times. However, it is important to stay calm and to reassure your child that their condition is treatable and you will be there for them. It is also important to listen to your child. Let them express their worries and encourage them to ask questions. Make sure that they know they can talk to you at any time if they need to.

 

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