What should I put in my kids’ Migraine survival bag?

In a previous post about parenting during Migraine attacks I mentioned creating a kids’ survival bag that I put inside my own Migraine tool bag to survive those times when I had to combine parenting with Migraining.

My kids were little a very long time ago, so you might have some additional ideas to share in the comments below, but here are some of the things we included in our survival bag:

  • Snacks — This is the one time when you’ll see me encourage single serving pre-packaged food items. Make sure these items aren’t on their usual menu and you might find they’re even happy when your next Migraine hits. If you keep the items low in sugar, they’ll be more likely to stay quiet when you need it the most. For babies, consider a spare clean bottle and a can of premixed formula, or a single serving can of fruit juice that can be mixed with a little water.
  • Kid friendly activities — Consider the ages of the children, and make an effort to include activities in which the older child can help a younger child. If you make a big deal of the older child being the special helper, this often goes over smoother than you might think. These activities should only be used during a Migraine. Keeping things new and interesting is one of the tricks that makes this all work. Building toys, games, cards, dominos, even special quiet (non-action) videos that are used only during Migrainey times are all great ideas. Coloring and activity books are great, and adding a flashlight, a very special pillow and blanket to the mix makes the whole event seem special. Mini DVD players should be kept charged for their use, and allowing them to use these items while snuggled inside a fort made of sofa cushions is usually seen as great fun that can even turn into naptime. Watch out for things that create noise, smells or light.
  • Helper chart — Create a list of special tasks they can help Mommy with — things they normally might not be allowed to do like fill up the hot water bottle with ice, give Mommy a back rub, or even make sandwiches for everyone or answer the phone. The list is put into a plastic page sleeve. Each task completed earns an X that is rewarded when the Migraine is over. If someone makes too much noise, or speaks louder than a whisper, an X is erased. Even very young children catch onto this ‘game’ very quickly and become eager helpers. Idea – Each X can equal a quarter, with a promised shopping trip the next day so they can purchase new items for the survival bag.
  • If you suffer frequent attacks, you may want to consider maintaining a supply of pre-packaged lunches, or things that are very easily prepared for those days when a Migraine interrupts lunch or dinner time. Keep them in a cupboard somewhere, not in your bag. Watch the smells!

Remember — keep these items out of sight unless a Migraine hits. Keep the items fresh and new and interactive. Let them feel important by helping, and praise them profusely when they do.

Being a good parent isn’t impossible when you’re Migraining 🙂

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