Most adults don’t enjoy taking medicine, and we understand why we need it. Convincing children, especially toddlers, to take medicine can be an uphill climb.
At Laurel Pediatric and Teen Medical Center, our outstanding providers have seen it all when it comes to parents convincing sick children to take medication. Some things certainly work better than others! Here we offer three tips that have been successful for many parents.
1. Change the method of delivery
If putting the medicine in a spoon and having your child take it out of the spoon isn’t working, there are a couple of other things you might try. For example, using a syringe often works because you can avoid most of your child’s taste buds by positioning toward the back of their mouth.
Make sure that your child is upright, and depress the plunger on the syringe slowly to avoid choking. You may need to gently stroke beneath your child’s chin, or blow gently in their face to get them to swallow.
2. Disguise the taste
There are several ways you can disguise or diminish the taste of medicine. One way is to let your child have a popsicle first. The coldness of the popsicle numbs the tongue and that lessens the flavor of the medication.
Dipping the spoon in chocolate syrup before filling it with medicine is another tactic that can help disguise the flavor of the medicine. Your pharmacist may also be able to alter the flavor with an additive.
3. Hide the medicine to make it more palatable
You should talk to us first if you’re considering this approach because some medications shouldn’t be mixed with some foods, but using something like applesauce can be a good way to help your child take their medication. It’s important to make sure that your child consumes all of the food that has the medication in it, too, so that they get the full dose.
Other important considerations
These three tips are tried and true, but there are a few other things to consider when it comes to making it easier for your child — and you — when it’s time to take medicine. For example, model good behavior. When you have to take medication, make it clear you don’t mind doing it.
If your child got off to a bad start with their medicine, it can be easy to spiral downward, quickly. Try not to get frustrated, and keep the tone light. If your child doesn’t like the taste the first time, be sure to tell them you’ll try something to change the flavor next time.
Depending on your child’s age, you may be able to explain the reason they need to take the medication. Often when kids understand the reasoning behind something, they feel better about it, even if they don’t like it.
You might also make sure that your child gets to have, eat, or do something especially enjoyable after taking their medication. A treat, small surprise, or other coveted activity can make doing something they don’t like much easier.
Finally, if your child is struggling to take their medicine, talk to our staff. We may be able to offer additional advice, depending on the medication and your child. Contact us today with your questions or to schedule an exam for your child.