Talking With Adults
It’s Critical to…
Teach your child to speak up right away if she has warning signs.
At the first sign of worsening asthma symptoms, your child should say, “I am having asthma warning signs.”
Practice this over and over until you are confident she can do this in any situation and with anybody.
Imagine your child is at a friend’s house. They are inside, doing homework together. His friend’s mother starts to smoke a cigarette, and your child knows the smoke could trigger his asthma. Will he speak up? Will he know what to say? You cannot be with your child 24 hours a day. That’s why it’s important for him to know how to ask others for the help he may need.
Teach your child to speak up about her asthma triggers.
First, make sure she knows what her own triggers are and why it is important to stay away from them. Then, talk about situations that could expose her to triggers, like having a friend’s mom start to smoke. Practice what she would say.
- Example: “Mrs. Johnson, my mom says I can’t be around smoke because of my asthma. I could get sick and have an asthma attack if I’m near the smoke. Can you please smoke outside or should I go home? Thank you.”
Giving directions to an adult or asking an adult for help is scary for many children. Role playing can help him feel more comfortable. Practice different situations in which he tells another parent, teacher, or a friend about his triggers.
- Example: “Pretend I’m Josh, and I want to ride bikes with you on a day when the air pollution is bad. What would you say?”
Teach your child how to ask for what she needs.
Even young children can learn good communication stills. When your child has to ask an adult to do something, have her use the steps below.
- State the problem.
- Tell how it affects her or makes her feel.
- Offer an alternative or action the person could take.
Practice frequently with different examples. Before long, the process will feel natural.
- Example of what your child could say: “I really want to ride bikes with you, Josh, but the air is bad today. Pollution bothers my asthma, and I could get sick. Can we play inside instead?”
When the people who help care for your child already know the asthma basics, it’s easier for your child to talk about his triggers and warning signs. Educate all the people your child spends time with – teachers, coaches, day care providers, relatives, and parents of friends. They are an essential part of your child’s asthma management team. Give each of them a copy of the Asthma Action Plan. If the adults who help care for your child are informed about asthma, then you’ll know that they’ll know what to do if your child ever tells them, “I’m having asthma warning signs.”