I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of this time of year.
I mean, the orange and red leaves are pretty and all, and I’m the first to admit I love fall fashion and the odd pumpkin spice latte, but the promise of 6+ months of cold and flu season makes me want to crawl under covers and never come out.
At least not until May.
But after spending the first 2 years of my daughter’s life hiding out in our 1,300-sq-ft condo in an effort to keep us all germ-free, I realized that life is more enjoyable when it’s spent among other human beings, so our days are now a blur of preschool, music lessons, grocery shopping, and as many errands as I can squeeze in before dinner.
And life is good.
But it could be better.
You see, my daughter REFUSES to take medicine. And while I’m not the kind of parent who likes to over-medicate, there are times when I have no choice in the matter, you know?
The only problem is, this kid is more stubborn than my husband and me combined, so when she doesn’t want to do something, she will do whatever it takes to get her way.
The good news is that I’ve had a chance to ask A LOT of people for advice on how to get medicine into kids over the last few years, and I’ve come up with some pretty effective tips.
And since I know there are other moms and dads out there who struggle to get medicine into their kids as much as I do, I decided I had to share these with you.
1. BLOW IN HER FACE
When my daughter was in the ER with a suspected broken foot on Valentine’s day (thankfully, it was ‘just’ a sprain) a couple of years ago, the nurse taught me a trick to get medicine into kids that I’ve never forgotten. Her strategy was to have me hold my daughter so she was looking at me, squeeze her cheeks gently so her mouth would open, squeeze a syringe full of medicine into her her cheek (never the back of her throat), and then blow into her face so she is forced to swallow. Sadly, my daughter is a real fighter and manages to spit the liquid out before I get a chance to blow in her face, but so many of my friends have had luck with this trick, so you might, too!
2. HIDE IT!
If you’re lucky enough to have a kid who can be bribed with things like chocolate pudding, coca cola, jello, chocolate sauce, strawberry milk, etc., whip up a batch of his favorite treat, slip the medicine inside, sit back, and relish in the fact that your son thinks you’re the best mother in the world for letting him have a chocolate milkshake before dinner.
3. MAKE IT A GAME
When my girlfriend’s kids are sick, her and her husband make a big production of lining up all of their toys on the kitchen counter at medication time so EVERYONE can have a turn in. She even whips up a special batch of “toy medicine” (also known as “water”) and gives her kids their own syringe so they can help. This has proven to be a great strategy for sicknesses in her household, so you may want to give it a try!
4. MEDICATE WHILE THEY’RE SLEEPING
If your kids are sound sleepers, and don’t sleep with their heads buried into their pillows like my daughter does, why not slip a little medication into their mouths while they’re catching some Zs? One of my girlfriends SWEARS by this strategy. She simply drops a small amount into her daughter’s mouth over the course of 5 minutes or so to ensure she doesn’t choke, and while her daughter sometimes wakes up, it usually doesn’t happen until most of the medicine has gone down her throat. And since it’s fairly easy to get her back to sleep, it’s a win-win for everyone!
5. RELINQUISH THE CONTROL
If your child is older and makes a fuss whenever it’s time to take his medicine, why not give the control to him? I realize it might be messy letting him fill a medicine dropper or pour thick, sticky, bright red liquid onto a spoon, but if it helps him feel more in control, it’ll probably make the whole process easier on you too, right?
I never wanted to be the kind of mother who bribes her child to do things, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and if I need to break a fever and my 3-year-old is refusing to open her mouth so I can medicate her, I’m all about rewarding her with 5 minutes of play time on my iPhone, you know?
7. HOLD HER DOWN
When my daughter cracked her head open and had to get stitches last year, I was worried the doctors were going to have to sedate her because she kept flailing her arms and legs whenever they tried to get within 5 feet of her. But then a nurse handed me a blanket and asked me to swaddle her, and while it was heartbreaking to hold her down like that, the stitches were in before I could count to 100. Now, I am NOT a fan of this method as I think it’s cruel, but if your little one has a scary high fever at 3 am and refuses to let you get anything in her mouth, this may be your only option.
If all of these tricks fail, and you just can’t bring yourself to try # 7 (like me!), talk to your doctor about having suppositories made. I did this when my daughter had an ear infection a couple of years ago, and while it took about 24 hours to make the meds, it was well worth the wait as the ear infection cleared up with very little fuss. Of course, finding a compounding pharmacy that can make suppositories isn’t an easy task, but having one on hand has really helped me feel less panicked whenever my daughter gets sick.
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