Tricky, Tricky!

Moms (and dads) are a lot of things. We are caretakers, disciplinarians, chauffeurs, cooks, tutors, playmates/friends, negotiators. We are loving, we are kind (hopefully), we are responsible and tricky.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said it. Sometimes we are tricky, tricky, tricky. We have to be! Kids can be crafty, so sometimes, we have to beat them at their own game.

Lets talk about medicine. It doesn’t matter if you have a toddler or a teenager, getting kids to take their meds can be tricky. Younger kids either don’t like the taste, can’t actually get the meds down, or find the administration of injections or eye drops too uncomfortable to comply. Older kids may have many of the same complaints, but teens especially can start to resent the constant barrage of medications, and just want to be normal. Many teenagers will pretend to comply (if you don’t believe me, read this very scary story,) but have crafty ways of getting around taking medications, simply due to the fact that they are just tired of it, period.

Don’t despair. I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve, and along with tips from other parents who have “been there, done that,” you too can perform these wonders on your own children.


I’m no Mary Poppins, but I do have a few tricks to “make the medicine go down”

Since we give tons of home injections (over 90 a month in our camp) I have developed quite a few techniques and tricks to make giving shots easier. So many, that I have a complete post devoted to just to  Magic Tricks for Needle Sticks. If that is something you need help with, pop on over through the hyperlink and read the full story there. One of our favorite tricks is the use of a Buzzy which really seems to dull the pain for my kids. I did have a giveaway, but if you were not the lucky winner or missed the contest entirely, the folks at MMJ labs generously agreed to give all my readers a 20% discount on any Buzzy or kit priced $39.95 or more. Simply visit and enter the code LWA20 through the month of February. (also FYI, I did not receive any compensation for this post, it is just a product we believe in!)

If you are lucky enough to avoid the needles, but have issues with oral meds, I can help you too. If your child just has difficulty swallowing pills, you have a couple of options.

If your doctor and pharmacist say that you can safely crush the pill and administer with food (always check! Some of them you aren’t allowed to!) you can utilize an inexpensive pill crusher and mix the powder into a spoonful of pudding, applesauce or yogurt.  Be careful not to waste any of the powder so that your child will receive the full dose that was intended, and if possible, try to limit the mixture to a single spoonful, as to limit waste of medication that could be left behind in the container. Use the rest of the serving without the medication as a “chaser” in case any bitter taste remains. Always make sure that whatever medium you use is compatible with the drug you are giving. Some may be counter-indicated with dairy or citrus, so make sure you run the method by your doctor first.

My good friend Herchel at Scruggbug Corner has a brilliant trick to get fussy toddlers (or bigger kids) to take even the worst tasting meds without a fuss. She has figured out a simple solution to tricking the taste buds, rendering even the most bitter meds nearly tasteless. We’ve tried it, and it works, but you’ll have to learn how directly from her “When a Spoonful of Sugar Does NOT Help the Medicine Go Down.” Go read it. You will be SO happy that you did.

The next trick I have for you is to help you teach your child how to swallow pills. One of our exceptional pediatricians gave me this gem, after dealing with a horrible gag reflex with one of my kids. Sometimes its a bit of a mind over matter thing. We “trained” my younger son to swallow small pills with the help of some frozen peas. It’s important to start with the really tiny ones, sometimes known as “petite pois” like these. Because they are frozen, they are hard like a real pill. If they crunch them up for a while, no harm no foul, it’s just peas. After they become proficient, you can move up to the regular size peas, and then eventually on to real pills. If they can’t stand peas, you can use tiny candies like smarties or m&ms, but most kids want to really eat them, not just swallow them whole!

If your JA kiddo has had eye involvement,  then you may have found yourself struggling with the administration of eye drops. One of the best tips I ever received from a uveitis mom was to let the child keep their eyes closed, and apply the drops at the inner corner of the eye, then blink. This really helps take care of the startle reflex when your child sees something coming toward their eye, and saves a lot of missed drops!

In the case of the non-compliant kids, the just for the heck of it ones, I’ve found that giving them some control over what choices they can make seems to help. The older the child is, the more you can emphasize how important taking their medications as prescribed is, the better chance you have of making them understand why it is worth it. Sometimes it will just take sheer grit and a parent’s eagle eye to make sure its done though.

Did I miss anything?  Do you have any amazing tips to share that I don’t know about?  Feel free to leave them in the comments. I love it when we can help each other!




Winter Break!

Do I hear a “WHOOP-WHOOP?” It’s winter break!!!

No matter which holiday your family embraces and celebrates, it’s that time, and by now, ALL the kids are enjoying their winter break from school.


While school vacations are a relief for any child, they are usually an even bigger deal for the child with Juvenile Arthritis.  Morning stiffness is a big issue for sufferers of JA, and cold weather doesn’t help much either. School vacation means  JA kids get extra time to take their time getting up and getting ready for the day. It means not needing to push quite so hard through the pain of morning stiffness. It means being allowed to give into the fatigue that so many JA kids experience, and just being able to take a nap when they need to. It means not needing to go outside and feel the effects of a cold December winter if they don’t want to, and just being able to curl up in front of the TV with a cup of cocoa. Besides all the regular excitement and happiness that comes with the season, these things make winter break that much more appreciated by our chronically ill kids.

Even though my kids are homeschooled, they also live for winter break. Although they still have to catch up on school, it is a lazier pace. There are no scheduled online classes to attend, they get to sleep as late as they want or take naps as the mood strikes, rather than around a static schedule. They get to have friends over who are also out of school and catch up with their real-life friends as well as their on-line friends.  They even get to reduce the load for doctors and therapy appointments since many offices are closed for a few days around the holidays. Even the offices are open,  I try to give my kids a break, and have at least one doctor free week if their health permits. It’s nice to feel “normal” just for a week.

Winter break can be busy and full of fun, but I try to make it a balance of both reasonable activities (given my kids’ health and limitations) with the ever so important “taking a break” concept I outlined in yesterday’s post. The same thing applies to the kids as it does to the caretakers- sometimes they need to “take a break” and recharge their batteries too. I encourage them to make that happen with extra naps, sleeping late, and eating well (more nutritious homemade meals) to balance out the holiday treats.

Besides not needing to deal with hectic school schedules, the guilt of sending our kids to school in pain, or all the other daily issues that JA parents must cope with during the regular school year, winter break also reduces our kids exposure to other sick kids. This may not sound like a big deal, but since many JA kids take immunosuppressants, exposure to a small virus, or even the common cold can turn into a very big deal for our medically fragile kids. Winter break also brings us a piece of mind that we don’t normally have during the school year. I think we parents might like it just as much as the kids.

How much more does winter break mean to you since you have a JA child in your family? What do you do (or avoid doing) to make the most of your holiday time off? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! We can all learn from each other.

Have a happy, healthy winter break!

Choice And Control

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Taking The Bull By The Horns

“Taking the bull by the horns.” It a common idiom, and doesn’t really need too much explanation. It means facing a problem head on and tackling it, plain and simple.   I like this depiction because it shows a kid taking the bull by the horns. Juvenile Arthritis is family of pediatric rheumatic diseases. That […]

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