When your child starts handling her own medical care, it can be tricky to know what she should be doing – and when. Although you should weigh your child’s maturity and abilities when making those decisions, there are some rules of thumb.
(Preschool to elementary school)
- Encourage your child to let you know how she is feeling.
- As appropriate, allow your child to be involved in treatment decisions.
- Teach your child the names of her medications, their dosages and when to take them.
- Have your child come to you when it’s time to take medications. (For now, you should maintain control of the medicines and supervise the child when taking them.)
(Preteen to mid-teens)
- Continue to encourage your child to let you know how she’s feeling.
- Begin to give your child more control over medication-taking. Have her take medications while you supervise, at first. Later, you may put your child in charge of taking her own medicine, but check in regularly to make sure she’s complying. Encourage her to ask any questions.
- Allow your child to speak privately with the doctor if she wishes. Ask if she would like you to leave the room during the examination.
(Mid-teen through college age)
- Have your child take responsibility for her medications.
- Ask your child to make calls to the doctor and schedule appointments, at first with your help.
- Work with your child to decide the qualities she would like in an adult rheumatologist. Help her contact your insurance company for a list of covered rheumatologists.
- Coordinate with your child’s pediatric rheumatologist to transition to an adult.