Seasonal Allergies and Behavior

Good afternoon!  Just a few quick thoughts here on seasonal allergies and behavior in children.  The pollen has been kicking around here, I’m dusting my porch and cars off daily, and the lawn mowers are humming with a fresh grass smell in the air.  I am sneezing, my eyes are itchy, and I am getting some headaches.  Nothing severe, just an annoying part of the spring for me.  My sleep is generally poor during this time of year, and I am more sluggish.  But a poor night of sleep, a runny nose, and a headache, will make even the most amiable adult cranky.  It took a few years to realize that my children feel this way too, and their behavior reflects it.

I’ve noticed a strong correlation between allergy season and poor behavior in my children.  Not all of them, but at least 3 of the 5 struggle.  I have one child in particular who suffers from a lot of allergies, and seasonal spring allergies are no exception for him.  It seems every year, in April and May, his sleep worsens, he gets sick more frequently, and his behavior regresses.  It took me quite a few years to realize this was a pattern, and to notice subtle changes in the behavior of my other children during this time of year.  Kids are crankier, less mature in their choices, short-tempered with one another and with me, and it seems to peak for a few weeks every spring.  Sometimes the allergies are not obvious in my kids.  Perhaps they just have a little post nasal drip and a small headache — even that can impact sleep and behavior.

And so last year, I started just talking to my children about how they might feel crankier on some days in the spring, and it was probably from all the pollen and grass floating around in the air.  I asked them to tell me when they just didn’t feel great.  It takes some practice and maturity to communicate that prior to a meltdown, but just being told that it is ok to admit you feel yucky is a big part of the battle.  And so that’s what we are working on around here.  Tell others you don’t feel great, take some extra alone time, rest, and extend extra grace to everybody.  In a few weeks most of this will pass and we will all feel much better.  So much of parenting is just keeping things chill and knowing that this too shall pass.

 


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