What you can do
What can you do?
Well-informed and supportive parents can be great role models and advocates for children with arthritis. With support from your healthcare team, you can help your child learn about their condition and how to manage it themselves. You can build their resilience and independence by encouraging them to think positively about life and the future. Remember: Children with arthritis can do most things that other children do.
Children with arthritis need to feel they have some control over what happens to them. Give your child options where you can and encourage them to try new things. Include them in decisions about their treatment and teach them how to manage aspects of their care themselves, for example, taking medicines.
Keep talking and listening
Reassure your child that having arthritis is no one’s fault, and it’s not catching. Explain in language they can understand and answer their questions honestly. Give them a chance to express how they’re feeling. Listen and help them come up with strategies to cope with challenges themselves.
Encourage physical activity
Exercise will be a deliberate part of your child’s treatment plan. It helps reduce pain, keeps muscles and bones strong, and improves confidence. Find a sport or activity that your child enjoys doing and encourage them to challenge themselves, while being wise about the need for adequate rest. A physiotherapist will be able to recommend suitable exercises – make them fun and a regular part of daily routines.
Stick to routines
A pattern to daily life will give your child with a sense of security. They will need extra attention and sympathy during flares, but try to keep life as normal as possible. Encourage them to do all the things that every child enjoys. If they are frustrated at not being able to manage activities, help them think of alternatives they would enjoy.
Parents play a key role in helping children develop a ‘can do’ attitude to life, in spite of their illness.
- learn about arthritis and its effects on your child. This will help you feel prepared and more in control.
- focus on what you can change – you can’t cure your child’s arthritis but you can lessen its impact.
- make goals and recognise progress, even if it’s tiny steps.
- enjoy the good days by celebrating improvements, achievements and periods of remission.
- make time for fun and friendships, for yourself as well as your child.
Helpful videos to watch:
Arthritis costs the economy $12.2 billion a year
48% of those with arthritis are of working age
Women are more affected by arthritis than men
People of any age can develop arthritis, including young children
Due to genetic factors, Gout Arthritis is prevalent in Maori and Pacific
“The schools video produced by Kids with Arthritis I found on this website reduced me to tears as I watched it and realised that others have experienced the same problems as me.” – Parent of a child with arthritis