Top tips for managing fatigue

Parents tell us how fatigue affects their child and share their advice on what can help.

First published for Action for Brain Injury Week 2019: 21/05/2019

Children with an acquired brain injury often experience a different kind of tiredness called fatigue.

This has been described as “like wading through treacle”, or as if someone is “being weighed down by something.” It’s this tiredness of the mind that medical professionals call cognitive fatigue.

We asked parents about their child’s fatigue. They told us what helps them…

Planning is the key. Our daughter is 17 years old and had her stroke four years ago. Fatigue is still an issue so we plan the days carefully. If she’s going out in evening with friends, we make sure she has nothing on the next day." (Carla)

Plan the day out, allow time for rest/naps, go to bed at a regular time, eat at regular times and go at your child’s pace and don’t overload them with too many activities during the day." (Mum of a 5-year-old who had a stroke five months ago)

At home my daughter goes to her room where it is quiet and relaxed. She uses sensory items to help her relax." (Joanne)

child sleeping

We have red, green and yellow activities at home. Red activities must always be followed by green 'restful' activities. Also if we have a hectic day out at weekends or holidays we make sure the day after is free and usually spent at home." (Clare) 

Spacing the days so if my daughter does something active out of house one day the next day she will rest. She needs two low activity days on a weekend so the only night she is allowed up later is a Friday as it takes her the rest of weekend to catch up." (Hannah) 

Noticing the early signs of fatigue and then resting early rather than later. We spread busy days or activities over various days. And ensure enough sleep every day." (Lisa) 

At weekends I make sure my son has plenty of rest. If we go on holiday we always make sure we have alternate rest days. Days out are usually limited to long school holidays so that my son can rest the day after." (Michele)


Read more information on fatigue, sleep and relaxation. You can also read Top tips for managing fatigue during school.