Back to School: Medications and your child’s school routine

Back to School: Medications and your child’s school routine

by Tracy Akitt, child life specialist, McMaster Children’s Hospital

Taking medication is often an important part of treatment. For some children, that means taking a dose or two during the school day. Schools have an effective process for delivering medications to their students, but you as a parent can help too!

How to set your child up for success:

Find a way your child likes to take medication that can be easily done at school. For example, sitting on a chair with a glass of water can be replicated both at home and school, while sitting in front of the TV with a chocolate milk, cannot.

If your child has difficulty swallowing pills, try to teach them before school starts or ensure that there is a liquid form of the medication at school. Click here for a helpful method.

Share any helpful hints or strategies with school staff.

When possible, schedule doses so timing doesn’t interfere with classes or activities so your child doesn’t feel they are missing out.

If medication is prescribed to take “as needed” be very clear about the signs and symptoms your child or school staff should watch for.

Tell teachers and administrators about any common side effects that may affect your child’s performance in class, such as drowsiness, appetite, thirst, increased need to use the washroom etc.

Always send the medication in the original prescription bottle, and notify the school of any medication dose changes. Some medications may need to be refrigerated, so be sure to clearly identify any storage requirements.

Prepare your child to answer questions from peers. Offer them a script to use if needed, for example, “I need to take medicine to help my body use food for energy.”


You can get more back to school information and tips, from our booklet below.