How We Got the Eight Year Old to Take Medicine

12 Jul

The eight year old is on a few prescriptions this week. Most people would assume that, at eight, she would finally take her medicine like a good girl. Most people would be wrong.

She has always been independent and stubborn. I had to hold her upright as a baby so she could see what was going on at all times. She would scream so loud as a toddler that I was sure the neighbors were calling the cops. It’s her way or no way.

Of course, she has to take the  medicine prescribed to her to get better. I asked everyone I knew for advice, and none of it worked. People suggested sugar, yogurt, ice cream… the list goes on and on. I tried it all.

Finally, I came up with something to get the medicine into her. I had to give the control to her. I had to make her believe we were doing things her way. I created the following chart:

This is a model. Her chart includes the actual meds she is taking. I put this chart in the same container with her medicines then go through a routine with her. First, I open the container and take out the meds and bottled water that she likes to use as a “chaser”. I lay out the chart then offer her a choice of pens. She chooses the pen while I pour out the measurements. She takes a med, drinks some water, then marks it off on the chart. Since she is only on meds for a week, she can see the end of the chart and the end of the meds. Since the meds have a two hour window for administration (every four to six hours), we can also give her a choice about when she takes them. Tonight, we asked her, “Meds or shower first?” and she chose. She has control over nearly every aspect of taking her medications.

And when that fails, there’s a special bunny in the cupboard for bribing purposes:


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