Getting Sick Kids to Cooperate

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It seems like we've had a rough couple of months here at the Fussybuckets House.  First, a stomach virus that hit the Captain right before his birthday party, then a cold that affected both boys, then another stomach virus that affected 3/4 of us for a few days, and now, here we are in the midst of a double ear/sinus infection for Baby D and a sinus infection for Captain Fussybuckets.  And if you're like me, you want to soothe and console your sick child, but you also want the sickness to be OVER so the whining will stop.  (yes, I did say that!)  The Captain wakes up from his nap and cries for everything under the sun.  He is a GRUMPUS.  Nothing in the world will calm him down.
 
But what makes it worse is when they won't cooperate with you on anything!  Last night, the Captain came to our room at midnight, coughing like crazy.  We poured him some kid safe cough remedy (with honey…that tastes delicious…) and he wouldn't even LOOK at it.  Granted, it was in the middle of the night, but still.  He could not understand how swallowing some brown stuff would make him feel better.  We tried the sweet approach "honey, please take this special honey for Mommy."  We tried the mean approach:  "if you don't take this, I'm taking you back to your bed."  NOTHING worked.  And don't get me started on the eye drops we're supposed to give him for the slight case of pink eye that accompanied this sinus infection.  I literally had to hold him down and pry his eyelids open to drop in the medicine.  The medicine that would make him feel better!  But, he's 3 and doesn't comprehend that at all.  He's all about the here and now.  Right now, he feels bad, he's grumpy, and he doesn't want any more annoyances.  And forget about putting lotion or cream on his chapped, red, HURTING face….
 
So, here are some things I've learned from dealing with sick, uncooperative kids.  Some work, some have worked once but not since then…you just gotta try and work with your kid…
 
1.  If a medicine can be refrigerated, refrigerate it.  If it can be flavored, get it flavored!  Medicine goes down better and tastes better when it's chilled and flavored.  Baby D is actually liking his antibiotics because well, it's flavored and cold.  
 
2.  Squirt the medicine in the cheek.  The child is less likely to spit it out that way and they don't get the full flavor of the medicine.  
 
3.  Bribery.  All bets are off when a kid is sick.  It may be hard to break a habit once the child is well, but bribery is what gets this household through times of sickness.  If your child won't take his medicine, bribe him with his favorite snack or drink.  Taking the medicine is of utmost importance and if he won't take it, he won't get well.  Resort to candy, if necessary.  If your child won't go to bed on his own, lie in his floor until he goes to sleep.  Don't worry, you won't be doing this forever and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Do only what you're comfortable with though…if you'd rather replace your child to his bed fifty times, that's your choice!  Don't let anyone tell you that what you're doing is wrong or spoiling them.
 
4.  Choices.  Let your child choose how they take their medicine.  If they want it mixed with chocolate sauce, so be it.  If they want to drink it out of a straw, let them.  The important thing is that it goes down.  And if you're kid is hardheaded like mine, choices are very good!  
 
5.  For the chapped face or other skin ailments, do it after they go to sleep.  I learned this trick from my husband, who told me that his mom would go in after he was asleep and slather Vaseline on his lips and he'd wake up in the morning, his lips feeling much better, of course, and get mad because she put it on him in his sleep.  ha!  We tried this trick on Captain Fussybuckets and it works!  Go in about an hour after they fall asleep though, to make sure they are in a deep sleep and won't wake up.  Definitely avoid the 45 minute mark, as both of my kids wake up if done at that time!  Their face/lips/whatever feels much better, there was no fighting, and the treatment worked while they slept!  The husband suggested I try this with eye drops but somehow I'm questioning if this would wake him up or not….
 
Do you have any suggestions for getting sick kids to cooperate?  I'd love to hear them!  Anything to get my healthy, rambunctious kid back as soon as possible!!
 
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Gena is the mom of three boys, ages 5, 3, and brand new! She is the wife of a great man, a Christian, blogger, and former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom. They live in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Texas area.

Comments

  1. Still Blonde after all these YEARS says:

    My mother was a pediatric nurse. They are experts in getting kids to do things. The best way to get them to take medicine is to have the medicine all ready, tuck them next to you to that one of their arms is wedged between you and them. Put your arm around them and while hugging them hold/block their other arm. Slightly lean them back while snuggling them close and put the medicine in their mouth (this technique works best with liquids). Because their head is leaned back, the naturally swallow. Be very kind, efficiently quick but super duper nursey firm the whole time telling them it will make them feel better.

  2. Yankee Texan Mom says:

    Hang in there! I have been incredibly lucky that my little one takes most medicine without a fight. There's also a sippy cup where you can add the medicine into a little cup within a cup – major help for the yucky ones!

  3. Oh wow, I'm lucky that my son takes his medicine with no issues. Then again, he just loves to eat anything, even medicine :P Good luck!

  4. Have nothing to add, this is all great advice! Forwarding to my daughter for her fussypants :)

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  6. Yankee Texan Mom says:

    This the medicine cup I was telling you about. At the time I did the review, I had to get creative, but I have since used it as it was intended and she never noticed that there was anything other than her juice in the cup. I told her the juice was magic and that she had to drink it all so that she got it all down lol.

    http://www.yankeetexanmom.com/2011/11/07/sippy-sure%C2%AE-the-medicine-dispensing-sippy-cup-ptpa-winner-review/

  7. MamaNYC [Nicole H.] says:

    I LOVE how you mention bribery, which is my secret AND agenda when home alone with my son when he is sick.. My husband is always easy with our son, but I am the bad cop. However, ALL bets are off when he is sick. Beyond my heart breaking having to watch him whine and cry, bribery is a wonderful thing. I've always felt like a BAD PARENTS so I feel great knowing I am not the only one that resorts to some good ol' fashion bribery! I try not to take it TOO far, but "take your medicine and then we will… watch Toy Story" (GULP and DONE!).

    P.S. We have that same sippy cup ^ … AWESOME. I had a medicine dispenser that was similar when he was an infant and we've graduated to that cup. He does take down 90% of his meds, but I do have a few he fights me with. Good Luck! :*(

    - Nicole @ MamaNYC
    http://www.MamaNYC.net

  8. Spend Less 2 Save More says:

    I have a 5 year old that hates ALL medicines. Refuses to take it, if you force it down him, he will bring it up (yes it has happened a few times). Our remedy? Mix it with Kool Aid!

  9. good advice! it really does stink when kids are sick…I bend all the rules and give them a break..beg, bribe, whatever and then they recover and its back to the grindstone! I am a new follower from the hop..pls follow back if you can!

  10. Shanan, The Book Addict says:

    Great advice! For the first couple of years of my daughter's life she did not seem to get sick very often at all (at least by the standard I have heard from my friends who are parents)–but this year (the last few months really) she has been sick off and on almost constantly.

    I would add that if you get it flavored don't be surprised if your kids preferences change (I know it can be hard). For a while my daughter loved loved loved grape. I got all of her liquid medicine flavored grape. Then all of a sudden–she fought me on grape. Would not take anything that was grape flavored. Now her current favorite flavor is bubble gum (ironic since she has never had real bubble gum–but when she is sick I go with the whatever-works-go-with-it philosophy).

    And I haven't needed to deal with the skin ailment issue–but I love the idea of doing it while she is sleeping.

    Shanan
    http://yogi-mommy.blogspot.com/

  11. Glad you stopped by... says:

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] Make sure the entire dose is taken.  This is a hard one.  Even when the medicine is “flavored,” it oftentimes doesn’t taste good, especially when you’re sick, but it’s essential.  And if some spills on the floor, don’t try to guess and make up for it because you could overdose.  Call a pharmacist to know what exactly to do.  If you need some tips, check out this post for getting your sick kids to cooperate. [...]

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