The objectives of the present study were to estimate the prevalence of recurrent headaches in schoolchildren (ranging from 2nd to 5th degrees) in Mersin city of Turkey and to determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and positive likelihood ratio of the diagnostic headache characteristics in children with migraine and Tension Type Headache (TTH) using neurologist's diagnosis as the gold standard. The stratified sample of study was composed of 5562 children. The prevalence of recurrent headache was 49.2% (2739 of 5562) and the prevalence of current headache was 31.3% (859 of 2739). TTH was more common than migraine (24.7% vs. 10.4%). The most sensitive headache characteristic for migraine was 'severity of pain' and the most sensitive definitive symptom is 'duration of headache' in children with TTH. IHS-based symptom definition criteria are highly beneficial in diagnosis of childhood headache, if used together with detailed clinical assessment.