“The parents and the patient need to feel like they’re in a partnership with their physician and that they can have input into their treatment plan so they feel that they really own it,” says Jillian Rose, program supervisor of the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Teen and Parent Lupus Chat Group in New York City.

Just do it … with organization

Adopt the mindset and pass it on to your child that all the tasks associated with your child’s treatment are not optional. They are just part of your family’s lifestyle like brushing your teeth everyday. Then make things as simple as possible.

Take notes at appointments so you know changes in medication, when to schedule a test or how to do an exercise. Put the pills in a hard-to-miss spot, maybe on the kitchen counter or on the bathroom sink next to your child’s toothbrush. Have your child take pills at the same times everyday, after breakfast or after dinner, so it becomes routine. And, administer injections the same time each week, as their doctor prescribes. When possible, keep all the medications together so you’re not searching for anything.

Suzie Wright, occupational therapist and research assistant at Kansas University Medical Center swears by weekly pill strips, boxes that hold just enough pills for one week and divides them by day. She suggests getting different color strips for pills taken at different times of the day.

“I like the pill strips because at the end of the week you can see if you missed any and if your child doesn’t feel good you know why.”

There are also pill containers with electronic monitors. And you can set personal digital assistant, cell phone or digital watch to beep when it’s pill time.

Check off

Keep track of medication taken by your child. You can do this by putting a check or a sticker on a calendar after he’s taken his pills. Depending on your child’s age or maturity he may be able to do this himself. As an incentive or to help a child who’s resisting taking medicine, Rapoff suggests a reward system where a child accumulates a certain number of stickers or poker chips, and can pick a special activity or privilege once they accumulate an agreed upon amount of stickers or chips.

Teens can typically take on an increasing amount of their care but parents need to assess a teen’s readiness to do so on several factors, not just based on their child’s age.

“Sometimes parents withdraw their supervision or monitoring too quickly with teens,” says Rapoff.