Parents and caregivers may face difficult questions about when to share their child’s epilepsy diagnosis with others. But parents and caregivers can make sure that family members, friends and school staff know how to support their child and what to do in case of a seizure.

Start the conversation with friends and family

Loved ones can provide valuable support to help children manage epilepsy. But some friends and family members may have inaccurate ideas about what epilepsy looks like. Parents and caregivers can start the conversation by mentioning things the friend or family member may have noticed, like:

  • “Remember that movie we watched where someone had a seizure? [Child’s name] has seizures too, but they don’t always look like that.”
  • “Did you notice that [child’s name] takes medicine every day? She has epilepsy, and her medicine helps to keep her from having a seizure.”
  • “Remember when [child’s name] was ‘spacing out’ and didn’t answer when you called him? He was actually having a seizure.”

It may be helpful to practice these conversation starters ahead of time and come prepared with resources to share. After explaining the child’s epilepsy diagnosis, parents and caregivers can encourage loved ones to ask questions about how epilepsy affects their family. Explore helpful resources for parents/caregivers.

Talking to children

Parents and caregivers may also want to explain epilepsy to their child’s siblings, friends or classmates. To help children understand epilepsy, parents and caregivers can:

  • Use simple language and avoid complicated medical terms
  • Make space for children to share their questions or fears
  • Be honest about what they don’t know — and follow up with more information later
  • Use stories and picture books to explain basic information about epilepsy

Help children talk about their epilepsy

Children may be nervous to talk about having seizures and epilepsy. But when they’re ready to talk about it, parents and caregivers can support them by:

  • Explaining how talking about epilepsy can help friends and classmates better understand how to help them
  • Suggesting ways to start the conversation, like, “You know how I go to the nurse’s office to take medicine every day? That’s because I have epilepsy.”
  • Helping children prepare for questions that friends and classmates might ask while also helping them understand that not everyone will have the same comfort level responding to seizures
  • Encouraging children to share how the conversation went and how they’re feeling

Keep school staff informed

Teachers and school medical staff — like school nurses — play a key role in supporting children with epilepsy. By creating a seizure action plan and communicating with school staff about their children’s needs, parents and caregivers can help their children thrive at school. Learn more about ways to support children with epilepsy at school.

Additional Resources

For more details, check out these helpful resources:


Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics