Teaching your child how to care for their eczema

Welcome to the section on teaching your child how to care for their eczema!

This section will look at:

  • Teaching your child about eczema
  • Teaching your child how to use their creams
  • How to support your child to look after their own eczema as they get older
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Helping your child learn how to look after their own eczema

We know that families sometimes worry about how their child will manage their eczema as they get older.

Gradually involving your child in their treatment as they get older is a good way to start teaching them how to look after their eczema.

When she was younger, we started involving her in putting on her moisturising creams. It made it so much easier then, for her to start doing it on her own as she got older.


Teaching your child about eczema and its treatment

It can help if your child understands what eczema is, and why they need to use different creams to make it better.

I’ve always tried to explain what we’re doing and why – I tell her that we are putting the cream on to make her skin feel better, and then she’s happy to have them put on – sometimes she even asks for the creams because she knows they will make her feel less itchy and sore.


I tell him ‘it’s you and me against the eczema, not you against me’. He seems to understand when I put it like that.


You could watch this video on 'what is eczema' with them to help them understand what eczema is and how it is treated.

When should I let my child start putting on their own moisturising cream?

Most families find that a good age to do this is around the age children start primary school, although you can start earlier.

When your child starts school you may find that they need to take more control of their eczema treatments so they can look after their eczema when they are out and about. For example, during sleepovers, on trips away from home with school or clubs, or if they need to put on creams more often.

You can find out more information about how to manage eczema at nursery and school in the ‘managing eczema at school and early learning’ section. You can get to this section from the ‘help your child manage eczema’ menu above.

Teaching your child how to use moisturising creams

It’s good to show your child how to put the cream on. Get them to copy what you are doing so they can see how much cream to use, and how to put it on - using plenty of cream in downward strokes in the same direction that the hair grows. There is no need to rub creams in hard – think of it more as a gentle massage. You could watch the video on moisturising creams with them to help them understand these creams better.
Many families decide to wait until their child is a bit older before they start helping them use flare control creams themselves. Even if your child isn’t putting these creams on themselves, it can be helpful to understand what flare control creams are and how to use them. This is so they can start to spot when they need to use them.

Letting your child have more control over doing their creams

As your child gets older, it can be hard to let them take more control over doing their treatments. Even more so if you notice that they are not using the treatments when they should!

Many older children say that they just want to live a normal life and do the same things as their friends. This can sometimes mean that they do not always look after their eczema as well as they could.

For example, they may skip their creams if at a sleepover or take part in activities that might make their eczema worse, like swimming.

I really felt for her – she just wanted to do what the other kids were doing but we both knew that it wouldn’t be good for her eczema.


Helping your child balance wanting a normal life with doing their creams

One thing that can help is to talk to your child about planning for when they do activities that might affect their eczema. They can use their moisturising creams before and afterwards so they can do what they want but still take care of their skin.

It can help to point out that this will make it more likely that they can keep doing these activities because their eczema will be better under control.

I tried talking to her about what sort of things she thought made her eczema better and worse and she had a pretty good idea. So I think she knows what she has to do but it’s remembering and planning and taking creams with her that she still needs help with.Elena

Help your child to take control of their treatments

One of the things older children tell us is that they find nagging very annoying – and that it makes them not want to put the creams on!

Sometimes giving a bit of space can be helpful. This can give your child a chance to take control of their creams and also to learn what happens if they don’t use their creams. Many older children become very conscious of how they look. They soon see that good skin care can make their skin look better.

If you are worried, you could try asking them how they are getting on with their creams to see if you can help them work out what they could do better. Or you could try to set yourself a limit to the number of times you remind them – like once or twice a week if they need it.

I used to really worry about her not using her creams. I had to learn to step back a bit so she could learn to use them on her own – although I would still ask her from time to time if she would like me to remind her or help her.