Living with Chronic Pain
7 Tips for Parenting a Toddler While Living With Chronic Pain
Parenting a toddler can be challenging. Dealing with temper tantrums, cleaning up messes, preparing meals, and doing endless laundry is enough to exhaust any parent. For individuals with chronic pain, parenting a toddler can be even more challenging.
Seven Tips for parenting a toddler while living with chronic pain include the following:
- Explain chronic pain in a toddler-friendly way. Toddlers obviously don’t understand the nuances of chronic pain, but simple statements like, “Mommy’s head hurts” or “Daddy has a hurt back” are easy to understand. Toddlers are more observant than adults realize, so being honest about chronic pain is better than trying to hide it.
- Use proper lifting and carrying techniques. Picking up a toddler can put strain on the spine and the muscles of the back, which can worsen chronic back pain. In order to maintain back health or prevent back pain from worsening, it’s essential to use proper lifting techniques. Instead of bending from the waist, parents should squat down while keeping the knees behind the toes, engage the abdominal muscles while picking up the child, and use the leg and glute muscles to return to standing. Parents should avoid holding the child on one hip. Carrying the toddler chest to chest with the child’s legs wrapped around the parent’s waist or using a piggyback carry are best. If a parent must carry a child on one hip, it is important to switch from one hip to the other to prevent alignment issues.
- Be firm about safety. As a parent with chronic pain, it may be difficult or impossible to chase after a child who wanders away or steps into the street. Clarifying safety rules and emphasizing their importance is essential.
- Find activities that can be completed together. If physical activities like going on a hike or walking around a local park are not possible due to chronic pain, many activities can be done together at home. Playing board games, reading books, and working on puzzles are examples of activities that are fun for the toddler and comfortable for the parent.
- Make the most of screen time. While some parents completely prohibit television or other screen time, allowing a toddler to watch an educational program or a fun cartoon provides a much-needed break for parents with chronic pain. Discussing the show together can even help enhance the child’s learning.
- Ask for help when needed. There is no shame in asking for help. Asking a family member to babysit for a few hours, hiring a cleaning company to help around the house, or asking a friend to run an errand can help take some pressure off the parent with chronic pain. It takes a village to raise a child, and that is especially true for parents with chronic pain.
- Join a chronic pain support group. Joining a support group is a great way to find other parents with chronic pain who are also raising toddlers. A support group helps prevent feelings of isolation, and learning tips and tricks from parents in similar situations can be extremely helpful.
Additional source: Romper