PhotoThe beginning of the school year can bring plenty of ailments that you didn’t see in your kids when they were on summer vacation. Anxiety, along with an increased pressure to perform, can result in stomach problems, trouble sleeping, or actual sicknesses, like a cold. Researchers have recently found that headaches can also be a major problem for school-aged children.

According to Doctor Nick DeBlasio, a pediatrician at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Pediatric Primary Care Clinic, about 10% of school-aged children and 15-27% of teens experience headaches from time to time.

Children get the same kind of headaches that adults do, but their symptoms might be slightly different. If you have ever had a migraine, then you know how they usually start in the morning and persist through the afternoon. Migraines in children are different in this respect because they usually start in the late afternoon. Adults usually have to endure this pain for at least four hours, but children can get through it in just 2-3 hours.

Many different triggers

As a parent, it is easy to believe that your child is faking their headache to try and get out of doing school work or chores. Do not be too quick to judge, though. Kids get headaches for a number of reasons, and they can be triggered by many different things.

When kids play outside or get involved in an activity, they can forget that they need to get a drink. They lose a great deal of their body fluids from sweating, which results in dehydration. The best thing you can do is make sure they have water readily available. Try packing a backpack with water bottles or take a cooler to the park if your kids are going to play there. If they decide to stick closer to home, then using the backyard hose can be a great way of staying hydrated.

It’s not always easy to get little ones to eat, and a lack of food can cause horrible headaches. Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet and doesn’t consume a lot of caffeine. This drug can be found in many foods and beverages and can trigger headaches if children have too much.

Sleep is important

Getting enough sleep during the school year is a problem for many school-aged children, especially as they get older. It is optimal for middle and high school kids to get at least 10-12 hours of rest every night. If they are having a hard time sleeping at night, it will make getting through the school day much harder. Children who lack sleep often have a harder time focusing and functioning, and they will also be more prone to getting headaches.

Not many of us function well under stress, and getting headaches can be one sure sign that your child is overwhelmed. Pressure to perform at school or big changes at home can create stress, and you will find that this usually results in an increased number of headaches. Be sure that you are attentive to your child’s needs if he or she is going through a rough patch.

The beginning of the school year is a great time to get your child’s vision checked. If they are straining to see, then it can easily result in a headache. A vision test will give you the results you need in order to determine if your child’s headaches are simply the result of poor eyesight.

Getting a headache is not always triggered by an outside influencer; genetics can also be a cause. If you find yourself getting headaches often, then it’s very possible that your child is predisposed to getting them as well.

Be proactive

Most headaches that children have are not cause for alarm, but if you find that your child’s headaches have become more frequent, severe, or lead to other physical ailments such as vomiting or passing out, then it is best to see a pediatrician.

In all other cases, over-the-counter ibuprofen can be administered to ease the pain caused by headaches. Be sure to follow the directions on the box to determine what dosage is appropriate for your child. 

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