How to Get You Child to Take Medicine

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Tips on how to get your child to take medicine.

I hate taking medicine and I rarely give it to my kids. Chuck and I are of the opinion that it is better to let (most) fevers run their course without intervention. But the fact is, sometimes we have to give our kids (and ourselves) medicine.

Antibiotics prescribed for infection after g-tube closure.

Back in November six-year-old Apollo had his g-tube surgically removed and developed a nasty staph infection. The incision had to be surgically opened and drained. To fight the infection we were given FIVE bottles of liquid antibiotic.

Five bottles of nasty, liquid antibiotics that we had to give to our son who had been taking all liquid medicine through his tube for the past 4 1/2 years. It was horrible. It was awful. It was nearly impossible. Three times a day we had to make our six-year-old to take a huge dose of a thick, bitter antibiotic.

How to get your child to take medicine.

Getting Apollo to take his medicine was so difficult I turned to everyone I knew to ask for advice and got some great ideas.

Here are my best tips to get your child to take medicine.

1. Teach your child to swallow pills early.

Apollo at age six will easily and happily swallow pills. He finds it much more palatable than liquid. You can practice this by having your child swallow Tic Tacs. This skill has been so helpful for Apollo.

Unfortunately, the antibiotic was liquid.

2. Chocolate Syrup Chaser.

I had several people suggest having a “chaser” of chocolate syrup ready for after the medicine was swallowed. Apollo still has a limited palate, so this wasn’t going to happen, but I can see it working for other kids.

3. Try a Straw.

The taste buds at the back of your mouth are less sensitive so you may be able to get your child to quickly slurp their medicine down with a straw (we love these silicon ones).

4. Plug your nose!

Have your child plug their nose while they swallow and chase the medicine down with juice or milk.

Unfortunately, none of these methods worked for Apollo. Here is a kid who has been tube-fed for years and struggled to learn to eat suddenly needing to down bottles of the nastiest tasting substance on planet earth. It was so hard he asked for “the medicine they put in your bottom” and “can’t I just go to the hospital and get a shot“.

Yes, my friends, he was begging for suppositories and shots rather than have to swallow his antibiotic.

Then finally, we found something that would work.

How to get your child to take medicine.

Sour Patch Kids and Orange juice. 

Here is the method I used to get Apollo to take his medicine.

I would measure Apollo’s antibiotic and put it in a shot glass.

Next, I added a tiny splash of orange juice (he was taking a huge dose and I didn’t want to increase the volume by too much).

Apollo would suck on a Sour Patch Kid to “shock” his taste buds, then he would swallow the medicine/orange juice mixture as fast as possible.

Then Apollo would take a drink of water and suck on another Sour Patch Kid.

The experience wasn’t pleasant and didn’t taste good, but it worked!

This is the only thing that got us through ten days of antibiotic (yes, he had to take half bottle a day!)

Rocket Mommy also had a brilliant method for getting her kids to take antibiotics. If you are struggling to get your child to take medicine be sure and check out her post.

How about you? Do you have any tips or tricks to get your child to take medicine? I’d love to add a few more to my parenting toolbox.

 

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13 Responses

  1. As an adult who still struggles with taking medicine (both pills and liquid) I have a few tips to add 🙂

    Pills – take them with a smoothie. The thick liquid makes it harder to feel the pill as it goes down.
    Liquids – use a gingerale chaser. The strong flavour and fizz helps rid any after taste quickly. Dark gingerale works even better.

    • Those are great tips. I think the Ginger Ale would be a bit much for Apollo (he’s never had pop) but great for older kids and adults!

  2. Our kids learned to swallow pills in a spoonful of applesauce. No problema 😀 So much better than that nasty tasting liquid.

    • I agree! Unfortunately that wasn’t an option for Apollo this time.

    • This is why I now chew my applesauce, jello, anything liquidy! still can’t swallow pills!

  3. Some drugs are absorbed more slowly when taken with milk, so check for interactions before chasing drugs with milk!

    • Great tip. Milk isn’t a food Apollo drinks yet, but I am sure that will help others.

  4. For my kids it worked best to give the antibiotic in a syringe they could squirt in their mouth. Gave them control and is a way to pass by the buds at the tipnof the tongue.

    • My kids never like the syringe, though I think it is a brilliant method.

Please share your thoughts!