9 Tips for Parenting With Psoriatic Arthritisby 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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.