Growing up with ulcerative colitis
- Always be prepared
Your child may find it difficult to deal with their ulcerative colitis (UC) at first. One thing you can do to help them cope with their condition is plan ahead.
- Set aside time for bathroom breaks during activities
- Carry a change of clothing, wipes, and toilet paper
- Encourage your child to always find the restroom in public places
- Practice ways to relieve anxiety and stress
While your initial reaction may be to hide your child’s condition from family and friends, it may be more stressful for both of you to keep it a secret. Even though your child may be embarrassed, it’s important to inform close family members, friends, and teachers who help care for your child about their condition in case of any emergencies.
- Talking with teachers
You can’t be with your child 24/7. Since most of their days are spent at school, it’s important to share your child’s ulcerative colitis (UC) with the right teachers and administrators. Make sure to discuss potential needs and accommodations with the school as early in the year as possible.
A few things you may want to ask for:
- Unlimited bathroom access: Create a plan that allows your child to take frequent bathroom breaks even during things like tests. Suggest a bathroom signal that attracts less attention.
- Seating accommodations: Be sure your child can easily and discreetly exit the classroom from their seat.
- Medication schedule: Establish a time for your child to take medications with the school nurse.
- Tutoring and support: Frequent absences are common for children with UC. Tutoring as well as an extra set of books at home can help your child catch up on missed assignments.
- Supplies on-hand: Get your child permission to carry and use supplies such as small snacks, candy to treat dry mouth, a water bottle, wet wipes, and a change of clothes throughout the day.
- Private space: Designate a location, such as the nurse’s office, where your child can rest and change clothes.
- Control over physical education: Get your child authorization to sit out of physical activities when he or she is not feeling well.
- Stay active
Just because your child is diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), doesn’t mean he or she has to miss out on the activities they’re interested in—even during a flare-up. In fact, it’s important for your child to be as active as they can be to help relieve stress, build stronger muscles and bones, and boost their confidence. Whether it’s through sports, dance, or some other exercise or physical activity, make sure your child is well hydrated, comfortable, and having a good time.
Adjustments may need to be made if a more strenuous activity begins to take a toll on your child or is unsafe. Talk to your doctor if you have any specific concerns about an activity.