Anytime I feel the tingling sensations in my temples and my neck tightens while I am at home, I know that a migraine attack is not far behind. I’ve been parenting with chronic migraine for almost 6 years now. It’s been a difficult journey but also one that brought me lots of happiness, laughter and lessons
I am sure that most parents agree parenting is difficult. However, when parenting is affected by migraine attacks, it often feels impossible. Since migraine is a spectrum neurological disorder, some parents experience migraine attacks once a month, others a few times a week, and yet there are still others who experience daily attacks.
No matter how often you are affected by migraine disease, one thing is for sure: migraine attacks are overwhelming, unpredictable, and affect your family life. Migraine symptoms are often debilitating making it difficult to function, let alone take care of your children.
Making a plan to prepare for the migraine attack as much as possible helps minimize the stress when an inevitable attack does come. We recommend keeping a migraine relief kit readily available at home.
Challenges As A Parent
One of my challenges as a parent when I get a migraine attack is keeping my kids occupied during the day. During some attacks, I can carry on my regular activities. But there are some attacks that require me to lay down with my eyes closed.
I have a list of quiet activities for my kids that they can do on their own when I need to lay down. TIP: Make a list of quiet activities for kids and tape it to the fridge for their father, grandparent, or caregiver.
10 Quiet Activities
Here are the ten quiet activities for your kids that encourage independent play:
- Books with flaps – Usborne books have great educations books with lots of flaps. My kids’ current favorite is “What Are Feelings?”
- Sticker pads – Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pads have been our favorite since the kids were toddlers! These stickers can be placed on the included scenery pads, fridge, or on the windows.
- Picnic in the [Room with a couch] – my kids love setting up the room for a picnic. They lay out beach towels on the floor and sit there with their animals. They put down plastic plates and cups and prepare food in their play kitchen. Then they grab some cheese sticks for themselves and play pretend.
- LEGOs – it would be hard to make this list without including the LEGOs. There are so many different types that the sky is the limit. There are LEGO duplos for kids as young as 1.5 years old. And there are classic sets for kids (and adults) of all ages! Just check out this Harry Potter set!
- Craft Box – Create a craft box for your kids by including craft items: popsicle sticks, clothespins, pipe cleaners, pom poms, construction paper, etc. You can also buy a pre-made craft box, such as My Giant Busy Box by ALEX. Just accept that you (or preferably your husband) are going to have to do some clean up with this one. However, it will keep the kiddos entertained for hours.
- Fun bags [from Dollar Tree and Target] – Create bags with goodies from the dollar bins from Target and Dollar Tree to keep the kids entertained and occupied with independent play. You can include seasonal crafts, trinkets, toys, all on a budget.
- Magnetic Tiles – Kids of all ages love magnetic tiles. They have become so popular because they are fun and educational. My kids play with their Magna-Tiles and PicassoTiles sets every day. Their imagination knows no limit when they engage in independent play for hours. They build castles, garages, and robots, using small cars, toys and animals to play.
- Coloring books – These awesome Melissa and Doug No Mess Coloring Pads are fun and can be used right next to you on the couch.
- Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Sets – These sets include markers that are only visible on the special coloring books!
- Doodle Mats – These mats recently became my favorite! They come with pens that are filled with water. Once the mat dries up, the kids can draw on it all over again! It’s a gift that keeps on giving. TIP: Just remember that to open the pens you have to twist in the opposite direction. (Lesson learned the hard way: pliers are not required…)
Although the activities above can be done alone by children of appropriate ages, they can also be done together if the parent feels up to it. They require minimal physical movement, they are calm, and quiet. According to WebMD, some parents say that they can continue to spend time with their children when they have a migraine attack if they can find quiet, calm activities to do together. On the low pain days I can still read my kids books and engage in various quiet activities.
What About Electronics?
Amazon Kindle tablets have been saving me during my migraine attacks for years. Amazon Kindles come with unlimited Free Time for the first year and a 2 year warranty. This means they include interactive games, read along stories, and have no need to go on Youtube. These Kindles help us so much during car trips, bad migraine attacks, and days when mommy is having a hard time. Is the Kindle making too much noise? How about getting your kids a pair of headphones. Or you can use earplugs when you are in pain.
Now, what do you do when the kids are done playing with the activities above and you have a few hours left until the other parent is home? Watch a movie together! Get comfortable on the couch. Let the kids have snacks that don’t make a mess, like slices of apples or grapes. At home, we have lots of DVDs, as well as, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+ subscriptions! There are lots of movie choices to pick from and this is an activity we can do together while cuddling.
I would love to hear how you get through your days with migraine attacks. Do your kids love any of the activities above? Do you have any of your own to add to the list? Let’s discuss! You can find migraine support in our private Migraine Strong Facebook Group or the Migraine Strong Instagram.