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6 Parenting Tips for When You Have a Migraine

Strategies to help parents who get migraines.

4. Talk to your kids about your migraines.

Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, parents say it's best to talk openly with them about your migraines. You can help calm any fears they may have when they see you having an attack and understand why your usual routine may change on those days.

"I think it really helps to explain your migraines to your kids," Graves says. If your kids are young, you could compare how you feel when you get a migraine to a time that they didn't feel well, she says.

When her children were younger, Biggs explained her migraines to them by saying they felt like getting an ice cream headache or "brain freeze" that doesn't go away for a really long time. "Kids understand that because it's something they've experienced," she says. "The key is to explain it very simply."     

5. Find support.

For the times when a migraine makes it difficult for you to function, it helps to line up adults you trust who can potentially assist with childcare. Talk with them in advance about your migraines and the kinds of support you might need.

"Choose someone who is really reliable, has some flexibility, and has a connection with your kid," says Terri Miller Burchfield, a mom in Washington, D.C. and co-founder of MAGNUM: The National Migraine Association. In her own case, Burchfield talked with her daughter's nanny so she understood what to do. "If I came home from work with a migraine, she could stay later than usual and keep my daughter occupied," Burchfield says.

Biggs found that she can rely on her friends to help when her migraines are at their worst. "It's important to have people you can call for back-up and they know what to do," she says.

When Biggs returned from a hospital visit and was groggy from her migraine medication, for example, her friends came over to make dinner for her children. Another time, a friend took her children to the movies when she had a migraine. "Over time, I've been amazed by how many people were willing to help me when I just asked," she says.  

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