Remembering to take medication at the same time every day can be difficult for anyone. Getting your child to take medication two times a day, every day, can be near impossible some days.
When Bella was young, we crushed her pills, and mixed them with applesauce. She would often press her lips together and shake her head back and forth. We bribed, we forced, we begged, we took turns being the “bad guy” and the “good guy.” The “we” in this includes me (her mom), her dad, and all three of her sisters. When the grandparents, aunts, and uncles were in nearby, they also helped out.
As Bella grew older, we realized she no longer liked applesauce. Yogurt became a good alternative. Peanut butter was too sticky, and pudding did not hide the taste enough. The day she began swallowing pills was a life changer, but still, even to this day, we have our challenges in getting her to take her meds in a timely manner.
Bella is now 20 years old. She wants to be independent, and we are encouraging her independence as much as we can. However, it is imperative that she take her medication twice each day, as close to 12 hours apart as possible. Her breakthrough seizures can snowball into lengthy ICU visits.
We realized many years ago that forcing her to take her medication only created more battles. I am a huge advocate for choosing fewer battles with my children. Her medicine is not debatable, so we needed to come up with a way for it to be her choice, to an extent, of when to take it.
We found that placing her medication in a shot glass, and leaving it on the kitchen counter where she could see it gave her time to process the fact that she needed to take it, and it gave her the power of taking it herself without constant nagging from her family members.
We also started using a weekly pill box. She has taken multiple medications for years. Opening up four different bottles twice a day is beyond repetitive. Opening them all one time on Sunday morning, and filling each AM/PM box is a time saver, and an easy way to be able to recheck, and make sure the medicine was taken. It’s a task that becomes rote, and it is easy to think you have already done it, when, in fact you have not.
Children of all ages want control. They do not want to be told the same things over and over again. This simple task of getting her medicine ready for her gives us peace of mind while also giving her control as to exactly when she takes it. Often times, she will come to the kitchen before we have it ready, and she will take her pill box out of the medicine cabinet, and she takes it, as if it’s no big deal. The pride she shows is subdued, but it is obvious that she does enjoy doing things for herself.
Letting go of the responsibility, and handing it to her has been a big transition. It is still a work in process. One day, we will trust her explicitly to own the full responsibility. As for now, filling her pill box, and using our shot glass method is what works for us.