9 Tips for Parenting With Psoriatic Arthritis

by Casey Nilsson Patient Advocate

Chronic disease affects the whole family. If you’re parenting with psoriatic arthritis, here are a few ways to ensure your kids become more resilient in the process.

A young mother talking to her toddler son inside in a bedroom
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Talk It Out

Choose an age-appropriate way to tell your kids about your psoriatic arthritis. For a toddler, it may be as simple as: “Mama’s hands hurt” or “Dad has boo-boos on his skin.” For older kids, give them a sense of the disease, what it feels like, your limitations, and — most importantly — give it a name. It’ll help them separate you from your disease.

Mother putting on young daughter's socks.
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Plan Ahead

If morning stiffness is a problem for you, make school lunches and pick out clothes the night before. A personal favorite — put your toddler to bed in socks so you’re not wrangling tiny feet first thing.

Wake up Early

Early rising leaves time for a walk and a healthy breakfast for you. And if nothing else, you’ve allowed yourself a few extra minutes for your body to warm up and shake off some stiffness before the rush with the kids begins.

Set a Confident Example

Unlike arthritis, psoriasis is a very visible disease. When your child’s friend asks: “What’s that?” answer with grace and confidence. “Oh, it’s psoriasis; it’s like an itchy rash.”

Father holding young child's hand out for a walk.
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Teach Them About Disability

Your psoriatic arthritis could be a means for your children to learn and practice empathy. As the saying goes: “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Father reading a book to his young daughter on couch.
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Be Present Through the Pain

You don’t have to wrestle with your kids, throw around a ball, or ride bikes to be present. Low-impact activities — reading a book together, watching a favorite movie, or playing a board game — are all ways to spend time together even in the midst of a painful flare.

kid being served spaghetti
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Get the Right Gear

Easy weekday dinners like spaghetti with sauce are only convenient if you can get the jar open. Invest in a few gadgets — this under-counter jar opener is a favorite — to keep family dinner prep pain-free.

Mother using a laptop at home while child naps.
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Accept, and Ask for, Help

Let your partner, extended family, or your kids help with household tasks so you can reserve your energy and your joint strength for other activities.

Group of sporty people doing push ups on steppers in gym
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Take Care of Yourself

Be proactive in your self-care. Eat well, exercise when you can, and preserve your sleep so you can be your best self for you and your family.

Casey Nilsson
Meet Our Writer
Casey Nilsson

Casey Nilsson, an award-winning journalist and magazine editor based in Rhode Island, writes about autoimmune disease for HealthCentral. Casey is a 2018 Association of Health Care Journalists fellow, and her reporting on unfair labor conditions for people with disabilities was a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Awards. Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016, Casey enjoys digging into rheumatologic news, research and trends.