My son has to take 5 different types of medication to treat his varying medical issues. Its taken quite a few months to get him used to taking so many. Here are some of the things that worked for us.
1. Give choices
When children feel sick or have to take regular medication, they lose their sense of control so it’s helpful to give them choices. While taking medication is not a choice, you can give them simple options:
How they take it (from a syringe, a spoon, or straw)
When they take it (before or after they get dressed)
Where they take it (at the kitchen table or sitting on the couch while watching TV)
Which one would they like to take first? (If they have more than one to take)
2. Add flavouring
Before picking up your child’s prescription from the pharmacy, check to see if the pharmacist is able to add flavouring to the medication, like chocolate, orange or strawberry. If possible, let your child pick the flavour. This also helps with the “control” issue.
3. Choose liquid, capsule or chewable options
Talk to your child’s doctor or pharmacist about the formulations available for a particular medication.
Sometimes medications come in dissolvable, chewable tablets, suppository’s or capsules that can be opened and sprinkled over food or pills that can be cut into small pieces and easily swallowed. Adding it into their favourite food or drink can help get it down too.
Stick to the same time every day as this helps your child feel in control and know what is coming. I do my son’s meds while he is in the bath and distracted.
To learn more about the value of routines, visit our blog here
Make your child a star chart so that each time they take their medication they get a sticker. You can decide how many stickers they need to earn to get a prize of their choice. You can also make a “treasure chest” with fun little toys and stickers so they can pick one thing after taking their medication each day.
6. Make it fun
Seeing Mummy, Daddy or a sibling take the medicine can help. We filled a syringe of lemonade for my eldest son and he “played” along in the early stages of daily medication to help my youngest son feel that it was ok to take his.
7. Do it while they are sleeping
If all fails, your best bet is to give them their medication while they are sleeping, especially if its eye drops.
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