Happy Father’s Day – Tips for Fathers of Children with Epilepsy
Father’s Day will be held this Sunday, June 21st, and all of us at the BC Epilepsy Society and the I AM A VOICE for Epilepsy Awareness™ campaign think that it is a great time to discuss fathers of children with epilepsy. If you are the father of a child with epilepsy, please see below for our tips:
- Tip 1: Learn as much as you can about epilepsy: When your child is first diagnosed with epilepsy, it is normal to feel apprehensive about their diagnosis. One of the ways you can combat this as a father is by taking the time to learn as much as you can about epilepsy and seizures. To learn more about over 75 epilepsy-related topics, you can check out Information Sheets from our website. Another great source of information is your child’s healthcare provider.
- Tip 2: Get to know your child’s healthcare providers: Speaking of your child’s healthcare provider, not only can they be a great source of trusted information, they are also there to provide immense help to you, your child and the rest of your family throughout your child’s epilepsy journey. Healthcare providers can include family physicians/general practitioners, pediatricians, neurologists, epileptologists, nurses, pharmacists, etc. and they can provide a wealth of information to you. Check out BC Epilepsy Society resources entitled Making the Most of Your Doctors Visit and on Your Health Care team for more information.
- Tip 3: Ensure safety with seizure first aid, medical ID, etc.: We all live with risks in our daily lives and having epilepsy may increase that risk for some people, including your child. It is important to follow some general epilepsy safety tips and guidelines as well as having everyone in your family, including yourself, to learn seizure first aid. These are also subjects that you may choose to teach the other people in your child’s life to help keep them as safe as possible. Additionally, you can utilize medical identification or other safety devices for epilepsy and seizures to ensure the safety of your child. Check out BC Epilepsy Society resources on Seizures and Your Safety, on Seizure First Aid and on Medical Identification and Safety Devices for more information.
- Tip 4: Learn about your child's triggers and auras: A trigger is something that causes a seizure to occur or exacerbates seizures. An aura is something that happens right before a seizure occurs and is somewhat of a “warning” for seizures. Not all people with epilepsy experience triggers or auras but some do. If your child experiences triggers or auras, it is important to make a note of it so that you are prepared. Check out a resource on Seizure Triggers for more information.
- Tip 5: Track your child's seizures with a seizure log: In order to help your child best manage their epilepsy, it is important to know when seizures occur, what they look like and any factors that could potentially be associated with the seizures. Seizure logs can also help identify patterns such as potential auras/triggers and to see if treatments are working. Check out a BC Epilepsy Society blog post on Seizure Logs and a BC Epilepsy Society resource on Seizure Recording Forms for more information.
- Tip 6: Ensure your child follows good sleep habits: Sleep deprivation is one of the main triggers for seizures, so, as the father of a child with epilepsy, It is important to ensure that your child is following good sleep habits and is getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Check out a BC Epilepsy Society resource on Seizures and Sleep for more information.
- Tip 7: Create a seizure action/response plan: To ensure that people know the important information about your child’s epilepsy and seizures and what to do in the event of a seizure, you may choose to create a seizure action/response plan. This document should have information like the type of epilepsy they have, what kinds of seizures they have, what their seizures look like, their seizure frequency (including the date of the last seizure), things that could trigger a seizure, any auras they experience, names and dosages of their medication, any other treatments they are one and seizure first aid protocol. Check out a BC Epilepsy Society resource on Seizure Types and First Aid for more information.
- Tip 8: Explain their epilepsy to them: Your child should learn about their epilepsy and seizures so that they know what it is, what to expect and how to manage it. Be sure to use language that is appropriate for their age and try to avoid using complex medical terminology that is hard for them to understand. Check out resources on A Child's Guide to Seizure Disorders and Straight Talk on Epilepsy: What Kids Need to Know for more information. You can also check out a BC Epilepsy Society blog here on various picture books and novels on epilepsy to read with your child to explain epilepsy to them.
- Tip 9: Build a community of support: Building a community of support involves having a network of family, friends and loved ones that you can turn to in times of need. Whether you require assistance or simply want to spend time with people who care about you, building a community of support is helpful in many areas of health and well-being for all people, including fathers of children with epilepsy.
- Tip 10: Get support from one of our support groups: Joining a support group can be helpful as you can share your experiences and learn from others going through similar situations. Please click here for more information on our support groups.
- Tip 11: Prioritize your own self-care: As the father of a child with epilepsy, life’s responsibilities may begin adding up and that you may become both physically and mentally exhausted. It is important to remember that your own self-care is important. Attend to your physical needs like getting enough sleep, eating healthy and nutritious meals, and making physical activity a priority. You also can find ways to relax and rejuvenate, such as listening to music, reading a good book, meditating, etc. While this may feel overly self-indulgent, rest assured that it is not. It is important to rejuvenate yourself in order to be able to better take care of others.
We hope that are tips are helpful for all the fathers out there who have children with epilepsy. Happy Father’s Day everyone!