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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

6 Parenting Tips for When You Have a Migraine

Strategies to help parents who get migraines.
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2. Identify and avoid your migraine triggers. continued...

Record when you have a headache, your pain level on a scale of 1-10, what medications you took, and other factors that stand out, such as if you didn't get enough sleep. Women should track their menstrual cycle on the calendar as well.

"A lot of people with migraines can identify at least some of their triggers and then they can avoid those triggers or plan around them," Halpern tells WebMD.

Some common migraine triggers include lack of sleep, dehydration, stress, changes in weather or barometric pressure, bright lights, certain foods or alcohol -- and, for women, hormonal changes during menstrual cycles.

3. Choose quiet places and activities.

Some parents say that they can continue to spend time with their children when they have a migraine if they can find quiet, calm activities to do together. They caution that you should avoid places that are likely to aggravate your symptoms, such as a playground with bright sunlight and screaming kids. 

"There are days when the slightest noise hurts me, but I still want to engage with my 2-year-old daughter in a quiet activity like reading a book," says Mark Tippett of Herndon, Va. He has chronic migraines due to a traumatic brain injury he sustained while serving in the Army in Iraq. "We'll make shapes with Play-Doh together at the dinner table and it takes my mind off the pain."

Katie Biggs, a mother of two in Naperville, Ill., sometimes has a movie night with her kids when she has a migraine. Biggs makes popcorn and ice cream sundaes with her 18-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son and turns the living room into a movie theater. "We turn off the lights and have a movie marathon. I can stay with them, even if I'm laying on the couch with ice on my head," she says.

Rebeccah Graves, who has a 4-year-old and a 15-month-old, has her kids play with their toys in a childproofed playroom when she has a migraine. "I'll bring a pillow and lay on the floor as they play quietly around me," says Graves, who lives in Vienna, Va. "It's great to set up a safe space where your young kids can be entertained and you can be nearby if you're needed."

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