The medical information provided within the posts was provided by Monica Fisher M.D. a licensed pediatrician.
Headaches are common among adults but what about are kids?
Can 7-year-olds get headaches? Seven-year-olds can absolutely get headaches. Children under 7 get have a 3% chance to get a headache, however, this increase to 20% between the ages of 7 and 17. Seven-year-olds are right at the age where headaches will start to become a more frequent occurrence for them.
Just like in adults headaches occur in children for a whole multitude of reasons, most of which are not serious. However, they are never fun to deal with. Finding a way to reduce the causes of headaches will be beneficial for both you and them.
Common Causes For Headaches in Children
- Skipping Meals
- Too Little Sleep
- A Bump to the Head
- Too Much Screen Time
- Eye Strain
- Long Car Rides
- Smelling Strong Odors
- Too much Caffeine
Most headaches, whether seen in adults or kids, come from these issues. If headaches are a frequent occurrence in your child track when they are experiencing these headaches and any specific details around the event.
By tracking these details, you can start to pin down why this issue is occurring.
When it comes down to these common causes, there are a few categories that these can fall into, including the following: poor nutrition, sensory overload, and excess strain.
In this category we have, Dehydration, Skipping Meals, and Too much Caffeine. Nutrition is incredibly important throughout your life but is most important when you are young.
Children grow at an incredible rate which is why nutrients are so important. This growth puts a lot of strain on the body. So to make up for this the body need to consume more nutrients than normal.
This is why a properly balanced diet
Caffeine should really not be part of your child’s diet. Caffeine can lead to problems with attention, sleeping, and nutrition if it is given to kids at a young age.
Caffeine is one of the largest producers of insomnia in general and has an even stronger effect on Children.
So avoid excessive amounts of caffeine from coffee and soda until your child is at least in their teens. (I believe there is a post in draft about caffeine can that be linked here?)
Eye strain, strong odors, long car rides, and too much screen time fall into this category. These issues can often be imperceptible to the person experiencing the headache and readily clear to others around them.
The human body has a great ability to block out distractions that are always around us. As such certain scents, noises, and sights don’t seem to affect us but may do greatly.
The leading cause of eye strain is from a child having poor vision that has yet to be identified. If this is the case then you will need to make an appointment with an optometrist.
I myself had to get glasses at seven to address eye strain that I had as a kid. Overall, this is a common issue that there is a whole field of study focused on fixing.
Strong Odors can be caused by a number of reasons, including your kids themselves. If an odor is the issue, introduce bathing and other concepts of hygiene.
Provide other means to eliminate odors and clean around the house to eliminate anything that could be potentially causing the odor.
Long car rides mean lots of bumping and jostling. This disrupts a lot of things. This may be an early sign of being prone to motion sickness. So look into getting sea bands or other motion sickness preventative measures to try to get away from the sickness that you’ll feel from the car ride.
Too much screen time. This is often linked to eye strain but the blue light of screens have several issues so it is highly suggested to restrict the amount of time that you allow your kids to spend on a screen.
Stress, menstruation, lack of sleep, and a bump to the head fall into this category. Long story short when your body experiences something that it’s not used to it has a chance of causing a headache.
Stress. Ultimately stress is the leading cause of headaches for any age. Kids are a little less prone to this as they have less responsibility so less to worry about.
However, there are plenty of problems that can lead to stress even in a child’s life. If this is the case be willing to talk to your children about the issues that are stressing them out so much and see if there is anything you can do to reduce the stress they are feeling.
Menstruation is not something that a child will be used to yet. So when they start experiencing this the extra strain on their body can lead to headaches. Talk to your daughter about what is happening to them.
Obviously, this isn’t going to go away so explain what this process is and how they are going to continue experiencing it, and maybe some method to cope with the process.
Lack of sleep is one of the worst things for a child. If your child is having trouble sleeping you will want to address this immediately. Generally, this can be caused by what they are eating, how much screen time they have, and if they are going to bed at the same time or not.
Give them a consistent schedule and a regulated nutrition plan, and they should be on the rise to healthy sleeping. If not you may want to see a doctor.
A bump to the head or other external force can cause headaches. This is just something that the child will have to deal with. Obviously, a bump to the head is not intentional.
So do what you can to prevent this but sometimes it happens, and it may cause headaches. Overall you’ll want to treat the headache after the fact in this situation
Ways to Reduce Headaches in Children
When you or your child is struck with a headache you are going to want to reduce the pain as much as possible. To do this it is often best to try to get them to sleep off the issue.
Get your child to lie down in a cool dark room. You can put a damp towel on their forehead. Have them breath deep breaths as they try to relax and fall asleep.
If symptoms don’t go away you can give your child some over the counter drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce the pain they are feeling.
Just be careful to you the right amount labeled on the medicine for children of the age you are administering the medicine to.
For chronic occurrences of headaches, you will want to teach your children how to deal with these issues. Relaxation therapy is a great way to help a kid deal with these problems should they occur often.
Other therapies, such as biofeedback training and cognitive therapy training, can be used if these don’t work but you will likely want to take it to your doctor to see if he has any suggestions before taking such measures.
My 7-year-old has a headache when should I involve a doctor? You often won’t need to involve a doctor for a headache but if the headaches last for a long time or are frequent occurrences than you may want to talk to your doctor about it.
Give the doctor as much detail as you can about how frequently, when, and the events around these headaches.
What can I give my child to reduce a headache? You can give children over the counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Try to avoid giving children aspirin though as aspirin can lead to Reye’s syndrome if taken at a young age.
If these medications don’t seem to help, then see your doctor.