Medicine changes are never fun. Never. Not under any circumstance are they an enjoyable experience. There's the uncertainty of side effects, ill effects from potential withdrawal symptoms, and the uncertainty of wondering if the new medicine will even work! It's a scary time, for sure!
Over the years, we've gone through our fair share of med changes, and each one comes with it's own set of issues. The first was when he first started on meds. It was terrible. He was whiny, and he had constant meltdowns. Basically, he wasn't my happy, bubbly little boy! I refused all meds for about 7-8 months after that until one day he was so uncontrollable in his impulsive behaviors that he was a danger to himself. He has a fantastic pediatrician, and he convinced me to attempt a different medicine. Thank God it worked! A few years after that we decided to keep the same medicine, just change the delivery format. And again, we had to to wean off of one and start another at square one. It was a rough two weeks to be certain. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way.
Tips for Medicine Changes
- Be understanding. Understand your child can't help or control negative or disruptive behaviors at this time. The chemistry changes they are experiencing are difficult for an adult, and nearly impossible for a child to handle.
- Be Creative. I make a plan to keep him busy. If his mind is occupied with fun things to do, it really cuts down on the disruptive behaviors. I keep a cabinet of craft and art supplies, science kits, and hands on activities.
- Plan your days accordingly, and give a heads up. We pick up Mr. B's little sister (by his dad and step mom) 3 days a week. I told those in the pick up line what is going on, as well as the teachers in her classroom, so that if he's displaying disruptive behavior at that time they will not be alarmed and I can feel more at ease and less stressed. I also do not schedule major outings or events that would require the need for a babysitter other than those who are very familiar with him during med changes. Why ask for issues?
- Go light on the schoolwork. During these times, he simply can't handle a lot of school work. He can't slow down enough. So this goes back to 1, 2, and 3. We are creative. We do a lot of hands on activities, documentaries, fun reading, etc.We still do school work, but it's more tailored to what he can tolerate. If your child attends public or private school, alerting the school staff and even getting a note from the doctor, could really prove beneficial for all parties.
- Remember, it's harder for them than it is you. That is often a forgotten thought, but it truly is harder for the child. They don't understand all that's happening. It's scary, confusing, and frustrating for them.
I hope these tips help you as you and your child go through medicine changes. Be understanding, give a heads up, and help them through this. This too shall pass.