Parent Hack: Tracking Medicine Doses with a Preschooler

Use a paper chain as a simple way to track medicine doses with your child.

The kiddo got pink eye a couple weeks ago. She got sent home from school, had to go see the doctor and couldn’t go back to school until she’d been on medicine for 24 hours and had a note from the doctor saying she was medicated. She was prescribed Moxeza* eye drops.

My daughter was pretty miserable and she knew she had a lot of gunk in her eye that was uncomfortable. So the first dosage was pretty easy to get her cooperation on. But the next few doses were crying fits, especially since her eye cleared up fast and she kept saying, “It’s not sick anymore!”

I knew we didn’t want this battle for 7 days, twice a day. So I made a simple paper chain. Then I sat down with her and had her count the links in it. Then I said, “That’s how many more times we have to put the eye drops in. Each time we do the medicine, we can take off a link.”

We never had any battles over eye drops again. She counted the links, delighted in throwing away one more link and knowing just how long we had left.

Sure, there’s probably some super-mommy-blogger who has already come up with this. And they probably made the chain out of multi-colored construction paper instead of pulling out a sheet of paper from the printer. Just don’t tell me about that mom, okay? I felt incredibly proud of my parenting genius in this moment.

*When we went to Walgreens to pick up her prescription, first they had in the system that she didn’t have insurance and the medicine was well over $100. Then they fixed this and the price dropped to $92. Then we gave them a coupon the doctor provided and the price dropped to $25. So if your kid ever needs this medicine, find a coupon!


  1. That’s a great idea! I bet my girl would love that. Though she’d probably want to take all the doses at once just so she could take the chain apart.

  2. Fantastic idea! I don’t have a kid, but I might use it to keep track of whether I’ve given my cat his meds. Last time he had a UTI he was on 2 different things given at different intervals so it was easy to forget.

    The prescription discount card thing is insane. A couple years ago my eczema flared up and the derm put me on something and gave me a coupon, but we didn’t see it was expired til I got to the pharmacy. Without the coupon, the monthly cost would have been $800!!! After co-pay! With the card, it was $25. (I got a valid one right quick.) The downside is that my insurance is still getting billed the high price, which I guess goes a long way toward explaining our insane insurance premiums 😦

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