Building Self-Confidence in Children with Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic health condition among children, affecting about one in 12 youngsters in the U.S. For some children, asthma is a minor inconvenience. For others, it’s a major problem that affects their daily activities, deflates their confidence, and, in severe cases, can even be life-threatening.

What exactly is asthma? 

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that occurs in adults and children, however, it’s more common in children. When a child has asthma, their airways swell and tighten in response to certain stimuli or “triggers.” Which irritate the airways and cause them to restrict, hence the wheezing that is so coming in asthma attacks. Triggers can include things like pollen, dust, air pollutants, exercise, stress, colds, and secondhand smoke. 

How asthma can affect a child’s life?

Living with asthma as a child can mean dealing with symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing that can interfere with playing and sleeping. Asthma is also the leading cause of missed school days.

While children’s asthma symptoms can typically be well controlled by reducing exposure to triggers and using medications, namely inhalers, the unfortunate reality is that children with asthma can sometimes be a target for bullying. Classmates might tease children with asthma because they need to use an inhaler – especially while participating in sports – or simply because they’re “different.” 

Needless to say, bullying is a serious issue that can significantly affect a child’s mental health and self-esteem. 

How can we build confidence in children with asthma? 

As parents, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures, how can we support children with asthma and help them develop confidence despite their health condition? Let’s break down some helpful tips. 

As teachers and coaches: 

  • Establish a zero-tolerance policy for bullying: If you notice bullying, immediately take action.
  • Educate students about asthma: When kids understand why some children have certain restrictions or accommodations, they often become more accepting and supportive. 
  • Let the child know you’re there for them: If there is a child with asthma in your class, some simple words of affirmation can go a long way in boosting their confidence. Also, let them know in private that they can come to you if they need help or support. 

As parents: 

  • Talk to your child about their feelings: Ask your child questions like, “What happened at school today?” “What did you do during recess and lunchtime?” or “How do you feel while at school?” Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable sharing their experiences and feelings. When parents are aware of and address bullying incidents, the chances of a positive outcome improve significantly. 
  • Role-play with your child: Role-play common situations with your child that they might run into at school. Teaching them to use assertive (but not aggressive) language can help them stand up for themselves in that moment. 
  • Connect your child with an adult: Help your child establish a bond with an adult at school who they can turn to for support. 
  • Read your child a book: Reading your child a book about someone their age who has asthma can help them feel less alone and give them tools to navigate life with their condition. 

Encourage Bravery with Danny Defeats Asthma

Danny Defeats Asthma is a creative children’s book designed to help young ones feel reassured that this condition can be managed and will not have a detrimental impact on their goals and future dreams. The main character, Danny is a lovely young boy who loves sports – especially Karate.  Sometimes, it can be hard for Danny to catch his breath during sports, and then he has to use an inhaler to catch his breath. A classmate named Gilly often teases Danny about his asthma, which causes Danny to feel ashamed, sad, and frustrated. 

Danny is not determined not to allow asthma to ruin his dreams and achieving his goals.  Danny is surrounded by a wide and wise support group – his parents, his teachers and most prominently his wise karate teacher, Danny learns how to manage his asthma.  But in our story, the most important tool Danny has to help himself, is his imagination and his trusted toy train Tinky. Tinky takes Danny on an imaginary voyage during which Danny finds the courage to participate in a karate tournament and stand up to Gilly.  

This inspiring and heartwarming story of victory shows children that having asthma doesn’t make them different or weak. Danny’s bravery is sure to inspire your child’s own courage and instill in them the confidence they need to overcome obstacles with fearlessness, determination, and grace.  

You will find more information about Danny Defeats Asthma on this website.  It is available now at Amazon.com.

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