After a few very sick months, my kids got into the habit of asking for medicine all the time. When they were well, didn’t have scrapes, and just wanted a bit of attention. Here’s how I handle it.
We had a few months last winter where everyone was sick. It started with one, each one got it, and it lingered longer with some more than others. During this time we were giving them either antibiotics, essential oils, Tylenol, or some teething remedy. Not every day, of course, but often enough that the bigger kids noticed.
And they started to associate medicine with being sick. And being sick with getting more attention. Then they started asking for medicine a lot. Particularly my oldest. Before naps or bed she insisted upon having some medicine and started acting “sick.”
1. Pay attention to their emotions.
Now, I’ll say here that of course I could just say, “No, you’re not sick, go to bed,” but I was trying to meet the deeper need on this one. They don’t actually want medicine, they want something else. If you’ve had one or two kids who are sick for longer periods of time they’ve taken up quite a bit of your attention. Perhaps you haven’t been able to spend time with your children individually as you normally do. Often, feigning sick and asking for medicine is their way of trying to get their attention. Try finding simple ways to love your child in the day to day.
2. Soothe your kids in other ways.
When one child was teething, he got quite a bit of attention from us. He always cuts 4 teeth at once. Yes, 4 teeth at once! I was always rubbing something on his jaw, teeth, and trying with the teething thingamajigs. So then the other kids started asking for medicine. So when they did I’d soothe them in other ways. I’d rub Lavender oil on their tummies, put water in syringes to let them drink, and even give them tummy massages.
But instead of focusing on the medicine placebo itself, I made a point to really use those minutes as quality time together. Play doctor and patient. Hug, cuddle, and kiss. I’d give the kids the positive attention they were seeking. I think this is similar to your 3 year old saying “I’m a baby, I’m a baby.” They are trying to get their own share of attention from you.
3. Create a comfort kit.
I don’t have a separate basket or kit for this, but I have this hanging on the back of the kids’ bathroom door.
It’s got places for essential oils (sorted by their use), eczema cream, diaper cream, sunscreen, saline drops, an ear ache concoction I’ve made, and other random things that make their way there. When my kids say they aren’t feeling well and need some TLC, we go here and find something to soothe them. They really enjoy picking something out to soothe their woes, even when nothing is really wrong. But they especially like finding something when they do have boo boos.
So there we have it. This might not be an issue you’ve come up against, but we don’t fare winter too well around these parts. What do you do when your kids ask for medicine?