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How to Administer Eye Drops to Your Toddler in 53 Easy Steps

Pink eye. Sure, as ailments go, it’s pretty tame. If no one’s is throwing up on your pillow it’s a good day, right? So why do we cower so at this tiny little malady? Two tiny words: EYE DROPS. Luckily I’ve been around the block a few times so by now I’ve got it down to a science. Follow the steps below for an easy eye-drops experience.

  1. Prepare yourself for the procedure with a practice run. Find a feral cat, get into a bath with it, and brush its teeth.
  2. Locate your toddler. If you’re having trouble, follow the trail of eye-goo.
  3. Clearly and gently explain to your child that you are going to give him special medicine for his eye that it will make it all better. Tell him it won’t hurt, it’s just a bit of water. Feel heartened by your toddler’s acceptance of this information.
  4. Lay your toddler down on his back.
  5. Take cap off eye drops.
  6. Flip child back over onto his back.
  7. Flip child back over onto his back.
  8. Flip child back over onto his back.
  9. Carefully open child’s eye with two fingers and squeeze bottle to release one drop.
  10. Wipe drop off child’s forehead.
  11. Repeat step 9 as many times as needed.
  12. Success! Celebrate! Quick fist bump, then tell your child he’s done and free to go play with Hot Wheels.
  13. Notice that the bottle reads “Instill two drops.”
  14. Say a grown-up word.
  15. Find child, interrupt his Hot Wheels play, and explain that you lied to him.
  16. Ask child to lie down again.
  17. Pick child up and lay him across your lap.
  18. Lunge after your toddler and gently wrestle him into a cradle hold.
  19. With one hand, dial your partner at work and ask him to come home to help you.
  20. Offer your partner Special Nighttime Grownup Time if he’ll come home.
  21. Offer your partner sleeping-in rights for a month if he’ll come home.
  22. Yell, “Fine!” and hang up the phone.
  23. Re-engage child and gently pin him to the floor.
  24. Reach for the eye drops and realize you left them on the couch.
  25. Say a grown-up word.
  26. Call your six-year-old over and ask her bring you the drops.
  27. Take the remote your six-year-old has brought you and send her back for the drops.
  28. Take the bottle of bubbles your six-year-old has brought you and send her back for the drops.
  29. Take Chapstick your six-year-old has brought and send her away.
  30. Use your butt cheeks to shimmy your way to the couch while maintaining your firm grasp on your child.
  31. Procure eye drops and remove cap using teeth.
  32. Plead with your child to stop whipping his head around.
  33. Place one leg lovingly and firmly over child.
  34. Squeeze bottle to release one drop into eye.
  35. Miss.
  36. Repeat steps 34 and 35 16 times.
  37. Google on your phone how bad it would be for a kid to just live with pink eye forever.
  38. Cry a little.
  39. Promise child a lollipop if he’ll hold his head still.
  40. Promise child two lollipops if he holds his head still.
  41. Promise child thirty-seven lollipops if he holds his head still.
  42. Channel your inner warrior. See if you can conjure the “Rocky” theme in your head.
  43. Place child on floor.
  44. Gently but firmly put your legs over your child’s shoulders to pin down his arms.
  45. Gently but firmly hold child’s head still with your knees.
  46. Open child’s eye with two fingers.
  47. Reassure your child that it will be over in just a few seconds.
  48. Reassure yourself that it will be over in just a few seconds.
  49. Squeeze a drop into child’s eye.
  50. Release child from your John Cena grip.
  51. Resume breathing.
  52. Call pharmacy for a refill on eye drops, since most of current bottle is now soaked into your carpet.
  53. Prepare yourself to do this every few hours for the next week.

Pink eye is really nothing to worry about, so just follow these simple steps the next time your child comes home with pink eye, and everything will be just fine.



Heather M. Jones is a writer and mother of two in Toronto who has been featured on the CBC, HuffPost & Ravishly. You can see more of her work on her website.