Syringe Play

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Cutting molars is a nightmare!

My 16 month old is cutting three right now and has been in agony and very cranky for weeks. Thankfully, Motrin has been relieving him of the pain and discomfort.

He is pretty good about taking meds and I don’t have to hold him down. I let him have the control of putting the syringe in his mouth and helping me push the liquid in. I then let him play with it or chew on it for a bit.

As a child life specialist and mom I am constantly trying to normalize and bring play into things that can be difficult for kids.

I have used syringe painting with patients and my older son and it works really well. Being able to let the kids play with the medical materials in a non-threatening way helps them to process what they are experiencing and gain mastery and control over it.

Syringe play works awesome in the bath tub. My kids love to manipulate them and squirt each other and myself. It’s a great way to explore, have fun and ease the experience of taking medication.

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Medical Play

Tips to Help Kids Take Medication

Do your kids run and hide when you tell them it’s time to take their medicine? Or do they just refuse, scream, cry and spit it back out?

I have been there as both a parent and as a child life specialist.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Kids need to feel a sense of control. Provide as many choices as you can.
  • Don’t say “Are you ready to take your medicine?” Their answer will be, “NO!” Instead say “It’s time to take your medicine, what would you like to take it with? Water or juice?”
  • Have them decorate the syringe or medicine cup with a sticker of their favorite IMG_0436character. You can say, “Wow, Spiderman is going to help you take your medicine.”
  • If possible, let the child chose the form of the medication. (Liquid Tylenol or chewable Tylenol)
  • Let the child squirt the medication in their mouth (practice before with water)
  • Let the child lick a lollipop or popsicle to mask the flavor of the medication.
  • Play it out- through medical play, syringe painting or syringe water play

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It’s Time For Your Checkup

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