Know how to explain your child’s asthma to someone else looking after your child, so you can feel happier about your child going to a childminder, staying with grandparents, or doing after school clubs, play dates and sleepovers.
“Parents and carers often tell me they’re scared to leave their child with someone else in case they don’t know enough about asthma or won’t know what to do if their child gets symptoms or has an asthma attack. Many also worry about their child being left out because of their asthma. Taking time to talk it through with them beforehand can make all the difference,” says Debby Waddell, Asthma UK Helpline Nurse.
Whoever’s looking after your child, it’s important to let them know that your child has asthma. If your child is under five, they may not have a clear diagnosis yet, but it’s still worth explaining to anyone that the doctor’s told you they might have asthma and what symptoms to look out for.
Here are some ideas to help you talk to anyone looking after your child:
- Arrive early, so you’ve got more time to explain your child’s asthma to the person looking after them.
- Use your child’s asthma action plan to help them understand things like your child’s medicines, triggers and what to do in an emergency. You could email it to the person looking after your child, or give them a paper copy.
- Show them how to use your child’s inhaler and spacer.
- Ask them to keep a record of any symptoms they’ve noticed, or if your child had to use their blue reliever inhaler.
- Tell them about triggers. Make sure your child isn’t around smokers, as smoking is a major asthma trigger. You can also let the other person know about your child’s other triggers or allergies, such as pets or pollen, so they can try to avoid them.
- Keep them up to date. Tell the carer if there’s anything new they should know about. This could be if they’ve got a cold, have had a bad night because of their asthma, or are on new medication. If their medication changes, make sure you update their asthma action plan.
Leave your contact numbers, so the carer can ring you if they’re unsure about anything, or if they’re concerned about your child.
As your child gets older, they’re probably going to want to visit friends’ houses or go out to play. They may also get invited to sleepovers, residential school trips or a weekend away, like Brownie or Cub camp.
Your child shouldn’t be left out of trips or activities because of their asthma. If letting them go is worrying for you as a parent, these tips can help you feel reassured:
- If someone’s caring for your child for the first time, write a checklist outlining key points of your child’s asthma. This means that if there are any last-minute playdates or outings, you know what to tell people. Your child’s asthma action plan can help with this.
- Have a bag packed ready with your child’s ‘asthma kit’. This includes a reliever, preventer, spacer, written asthma action plan and emergency contact numbers. Don’t forget any other medicines your child might be taking, like those for hay fever.
- Make sure your child understands how important it is to tell their carer if they don’t feel well. You may find it useful to come up with simple ways to explain asthma to your child.
Older children sometimes feel embarrassed about speaking up, especially in front of friends. Explain that their asthma symptoms are nothing to be embarrassed about.
It’s sometimes tricky to work out if your child is well enough to go to nursery, school or to their childminder.
These decisions will be easier if you’ve built up a good relationship with your child’s carers and are confident that they:
- understand your child’s asthma
- know how and when to use their inhalers
- know how to contact you if they need to.
If you feel your child is too unwell to be left with someone else, take them to see their GP or asthma nurse. They can support you in getting your child’s asthma back on track.
Last updated August 2020
Next review due August 2023