Back to School Isn’t Just About Knowing Your ABCs; It’s Also About Learning Your OTCs

I’m a blogging ambassador for the CHPA Educational Foundation’s KnowYourOTCs program and all opinions are mine

You may have noticed the level of rejoicing from parents on line has increased over the past week or two. Heck, if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those parents too; I know I am. Allow me to explain to all my non-kid-having-readers….do I even have those readers?

It’s Back to School time!!

That’s right; summer is finally coming to an end, and we parents can finally see the light at the end of the OMG-I’M SO BORED-THERE’S NOTHING TO DO-I WANT A SNACK-CAN I WATCH TV-CAN I HAVE ANOTHER SNACK-MORE TV-I DON’T WANT TO GO OUTSIDE-WHY IS THERE NOTHING TO DO-I’M HUNGRY-tunnel that is summer vacation. Oh, and btw…all that happens before 9am. You’re welcome for the birth control.

It isn’t just about getting rid of our kids though. I mean, it’s mostly about getting rid of our kids, but it’s also knowing that we’re sending out little deam…err…kids…I meant kids…off to partake in higher education; to become smarter, and more productive members of society.

You’re not buying any of this, are you? Yeah…I don’t blame you.

Ok, we also get to annoy the rest of the internet with our obligatory First Day of School pictures. See, here’s mine:

Look how happy everyone is…well, everyone except the tyrant in the blue shirt. Not me…HER!!

I’m super excited to hear what my little guy learns in the 1st grade this year. But, as I continue this new journey I’m on; that of the single parent, I’m starting to realize, there’s a lot of learning that in store for me this year as well, especially at home.

As a single parent, you really start to realize how much you took for granted the second pair of eyes around the house, especially when you have multiple kids, who are equally curious, and devious.

Another thing I took for granted, was how easy my son was when it came to child-proofing our house. We literally didn’t have to do anything. There could have been a knife on the floor (there never was!!!) and he wouldn’t touch it. Never went for cords, or light sockets. He put a lot of weird stuff in his mouth, but that was about it. Our daughter…oh man, is she ever a complete 180.

At just turning 2yo, Skully can already work my video game system to turn it on, and find the show she wants. If  she can’t find the controller – she knows the vocal commands to make it happen as well. And, she’s literally into EVERYTHING!! Plus, she knows how to work a stool to get to higher levels. All of THAT, and the chick has no fear. We’ve nicknamed her YOLO….yeah, I know, I hate it too.

All this has led me to realize, I need to do a better job at storing my medications…and I have A LOT…so my 2yo can’t access them, but even more, I need to educate my 6yo better on what OTC medication looks like, and how to properly dispose of them should he find one freely laying about.

That’s why I have 3 tips for parents of Elementary School-Aged Kids, on educating yourself, and them, when it comes to knowing the ABCs of your OTCs.

Tip #1: Have Your Kids Join You When Reading Drug Facts on Medicine Labels

All medications are different, and with that, everyone of them could have different side effects on different people. That’s why it’s important to explain to your kids, especially the older ones of the group, on what the label says, and what it means.

My son has learned to read pretty well over the last year. In fact, not a day goes by that he isn’t spotting a word on TV, or on a sign, or something on my computer, that he isn’t sounding out. Some times it’s a bit annoying, but when he nails a big word, I get super impressed. And naturally, he wants to know what the words mean.

Well, I can’t think of a place with bigger words, than a medicine bottle. So, what better place to start? This way, they get the importance, because of the word size, as well as find out what the word means, and why it’s important to keep medicine out of reach of their younger siblings.

Which actually brings me to my next tip…

Tip #2: Teach Your Kids How to Properly Dispose of OTC Medication

I love nothing more than throwing things away. I’m serious. I think I’m well on my way to being a old man minimalist. Hell, maybe I can get on one of those TV shows where annoying, and obnoxious people want to live in a small house…on wheels…with 3 kids, 2 dogs, and a cat, and spend the entire show complaining there’s not enough room.

What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, throwing stuff away.

I make that kind of stuff a game between my 6yo and I. Like when we go through the fridge to see what’s expired, and throw it away. The same should go with your OTC Medications.

Teach your older kids how to properly read dates, and let them know how different kind of medications should be disposed of in different ways.

And finally…

Tip #3: Continue the Self Care Conversation

As your kids get older, they’ll start taking the lead more and more when it comes to their care. But, they’re still kids, so they’re bound to cut corners, forget, or straight up lie to you, when you ask them if they did something. That’s why it’s important to make sure we reinforce the continuation of good habits that have been learned in previous years.

Things like

  • Brushing their teeth twice a day…because, kids be having some funky breath, man.
  • Make sure to hit all “the spots” when showering…yeah, this one hits close to home. Especially with a boy, who still think a quick swipe over his crime scene downstairs is going to cut it.
  • Washing their hands, no matter what they did in the bathroom…again, when the eventual plague comes, that wipes out half the world’s population, or that whole zombie apocalypse thing comes true…know that my son is the reason.

Hopefully you, and your children…but, let’s be honest, mostly you…have a great, and sickness free school year.


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