Children are just as likely to suffer from headaches as adults are. Headaches in children are not as serious and long-lasting as they would be for adults.
What should you do immediately when you realize that your 3 year old is having a headache?
Oftentimes, children are unable to express their pain and discomfort when they are having a headache. It is important to pay attention to them and ask specifically where they are hurting. The first few times, you might have to let them know that what they are experiencing is a headache.
If your child is having a headache, remove them from their current situation immediately. If they cannot tell what is bothering them, then placing them in a calm and quiet environment might help you ease their pain. If possible, carry them to a familiar place where they feel safe and at home. Dim down all the bright lights and tune out any loud noise around them. Try to get them to fall asleep and stay with them until their pain fades.
How can you tell that your 3 year old has a headache?
Ask! Communicating with your 3-year-old is really important. You should always ask them what the source of their discomfort is whenever they show any sign of distress. It might be a while before they themselves realize that what they are experiencing is a headache.
What kind of headache your child might be having?
Headaches are usually common in children. It might be caused due to some stress-related situation. They might feel anxious about something that may have to do with their school, study pressure, peer pressure, or fear of a certain teacher.
They might also be experiencing headaches due to prolonged use of some kind of gadgets, like, mobile games, video games, etc. Sometimes, a light head injury may result in a headache.
Some 3-year-olds suffer from chronic daily headache. Your child’s headache might also be an early sign of a migraine. Migraine usually runs in a family. So, if your family has a history of migraines, it may manifest in your child from an early age.
How to identify what kind of headache your 3-year-old is having?
It may not be an easy task to understand what kind of headache your 3-year-old child is having as they do not have an understanding of their own suffering. You might be able to identify their headaches from the symptoms they are showing.
Symptoms for headaches in children
Symptoms of headache in children are slightly different than what they are in adults. They are usually less severe in children. If your child cries while holding their head, it may be indicative of a headache.
Symptoms of migraine in children – Severe pain which only increases with more physical exertion, sensitivity to light and sound, vomiting, and abdominal pain are some of the common symptoms of migraine.
Symptoms of Chronic Daily Headache– If your child has a headache frequently, it might be a sign of a chronic daily headache. It usually appears more than 15 days a month. It may be caused due to some kind of head injury or infection. It may also be a side effect of some medication they are taking or because of some recent traumatic event.
Symptoms of headache caused due to tension – If your child is going through some kind of life changing event or has a lot on their plate; it might make them anxious and tense. Situations related to a new school, new teacher, new peer groups, a new member in the family, or difficult schoolwork are usually the root cause behind it. This may give rise to a headache in your 3-year-old child.
Should you consult the doctor for it?
Yes, you should if your child has experienced a headache more than once and if the headache was a severe one. Giving them some kind of pain medication, especially if they are suffering from migraines or chronic daily headaches is necessary.
If your child wakes up in the middle of the night because of their headache or if their headache wakes them up during their naptime, you should definitely see a doctor. If your child’s headache is a common occurrence or if it disrupts their daily routine, then you should consult a doctor. If your child’s headache that only started after a certain head injury or a traumatic event, then professional care might be necessary. If you feel that a certain headache is changing your child’s behavior and making them act in an unruly way, you should take them to a doctor.
What can you do to prevent your child’s headache?
Aside from professional care and prescribed medicine, there are certain things you can try at home to understand the reason behind your child’s headache and prevent it from happening again.
Maintain Healthy Routine
Maintaining a healthy routine for your child might help prevent headaches. Make them have their meals on time and get them to bed at their proper bedtime. Maintaining a proper diet and regular bedtime protects your child from overexertions.
Sometimes, making your child’s daily routine lighter and reducing their study burden helps. Allow them to have some free time and let them play outdoors. If a certain arrangement or situation in their daily life is worrying them, try to put them at ease. Helping them relax may go a long way to help them ease their tension and worries.
Keep notes daily
As a parent of a 3 year old, you may have a hard time understanding what exactly is causing their headache and what you may do to help them. You may start taking notes whenever you suspect your child has a headache. Trace back to the events of the day and try to understand what might have caused it. Compare your notes from all the times your child had a headache and try to find out what was common in all those situations.
Keeping regular notes will help you understand if your child is sensitive to a certain setting, situation, or event. Eventually, you will be able to eliminate them and help your child have a healthier life.
Avoid straining their eyes
Sometimes, prolonged reading or use of technology may strain your child’s eyes, for example playing video games, mobile games, or watching cartoons for a long time. You perhaps already know that too much time in front of a flat-screen is not good for your child’s health. It may also lead to headaches, anxiety, and tension. Reducing time with these technologies and maintaining a regular schedule will not only help your child from headaches but will also help them avoid a lifelong technology addiction. In the long run, it will only help them lead a healthy life.
Avoid Trigger Situations
If your child is triggered by certain situation, set up or events, try to identify it and remove it from their periphery. Pay attention to what they are complaining about when they have a headache and that might be what triggered them in the first place. This may not be effective all the time and sometimes, what your 3 year old complains about may not have anything to do with what triggered them. Sometimes, a child therapist or the pediatrician might be able to identify your 3 year old’s trigger points and help you avoid them.
Follow the plan prescribed by your doctor
In most cases, seeking a doctor or a professional’s help is the way to go when it comes to your 3 year old. Whatever plan they prescribe, make sure you follow that. Continue the medication and try to give them the lifestyle that your doctor has prescribed for them. If the prescribed plan doesn’t work, seek a second opinion from another doctor. If the plan does work, continue the medication even after your child stops having headache. See them through the entire medication course that their doctor prescribes. These are all the things that you can do to help your 3 year old when they are having a headache. Most importantly, talk to them and ask them what it is truly bothering them. Try to be empathetic by putting yourself in their shoes. You need to understand what troubles a 3 year old might have. Treat their worries and trouble with equal seriousness as you would to an adult. With time, you will be able to help cure your 3 year old’s headache entirely.