Illustrations and expert tips to help parents manage their child’s eczema
We have worked with children's illustrator Sebastien Braun to bring to life how itchy, irritated skin can feel to children. The aim is to help parents understand the impact of eczema by seeing it through their child’s eyes and, importantly, feel empowered to talk to them about it and treat it together.
Child Behaviourist Lorraine Thomas said: “As parents, we naturally want to try and make everything okay for our children, especially when they are upset. But it’s better to avoid saying things like ‘there’s nothing to worry about’ or ‘don’t cry’. Helping your child understand how they are feeling and why is a key step in helping them manage those emotions. You can then both focus on managing their irritable skin in a calm and resilient way.”
She has devised five top tips for parents:
- Establish a stress-free, fun routine: Make your daily emollient regime a relaxed and enjoyable part of your daily lives, one that your child considers as normal as cleaning their teeth or having a bath
- Be a positive and calm role model: If you take managing their problematic skin in your stride then your child is likely to follow suit
- Name it to tame it: If they’re old enough, encourage your child to talk to you about how they are feeling, it doesn’t mean the problem magically disappears but it can help reduce their worry and enable you to seek solutions together
- Give directions rather than ultimatums: Rather than a threat, make sure you are sending a positive message using ‘when’ and ‘then’. For example, rather than “if you don’t put on the cream then we can’t have a story”, try “when we have done your cream, then we can have a cuddle and a story”
- Show and tell them what you want them to do: Children’s brains struggle to process negativity so give them clear directions. For example, rather than say “stop scratching”, give them something that they can squeeze very tightly like a sponge ball, that will hopefully distract them a little from the urge to scratch
Lorraine Thomas does not endorse any emollient brands or products.