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What To Do If Your Child Won’t Take Their Medicine

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Edamama · Updated Jan 24

    What To Do If Your Child Won’t Take Their Medicine

    Caring for a sick child means extra stress and worry for any mama. No one wants to see her little one unwell. During times like this, there’s nothing else in the world you’d want than for them to feel better. But how will they get well when they resist taking their medication? This proves to be another challenge and power struggle—but you shouldn’t give up, mama. Here’s how you can help them take medicine.

    It will take a lot of convincing before they understand that yes, these bitter-tasting syrups and tablets will get rid of anything that’s making them sick and uncomfortable. Try these techniques so that there are less spitting and more successful attempts!

    1. Have a positive attitude

    Kids often respond well to positive reinforcement. Now is the perfect time to be the jolly parent that you are so you don’t scare them off. The key is to make medicine time a fun, relaxed time for them.

    What about using pretend play and getting their favorite teddy bear to also “drink” the medicine?

    2. Mix the medicine with food

    One of the common reasons why kids hate medicines is because of how they taste. Unfortunately, most medicines for kids are bitter. Disguise the medicine’s taste by mixing or hiding them in another food or beverage with a much better taste. This way, your child wouldn’t even have a clue they’re already taking the medicine.

    3. Try a different method of giving medicine

    Does your child run away from the sight of a spoon with medicine syrup on it? Maybe your little one will respond better to a medicine dropper or medicine cup. Check out Tiny Buds Medicine Feeder, which is made with a pacifier head that will make feeding medicines so much easier, and reduces the risk of choking.

    You can also try Tommee Tippee Medi-vit Feeder, where the front part of the feeder is designed to keep your baby’s tongue controlled so the medicine ends up in the mouth and not somewhere else. Or maybe they want to take the meds from their Kidsme Training Cup?

    4. Allow children to have some control

    Forcing a child to take medicine will only make them dread it even more. They might even choke or vomit. To avoid this, ask your child how they’d like to take their medicine. Give them a sense of control. Maybe they want to take it after bathtime using a medicine cup? Or in between playtime when they take their snacks? This way, it becomes a more relaxed process for both of you.

    5. Break meds into smaller portions

    Is the pill or syrup too much for your child to swallow? Break up the medicine into smaller portions so the little one doesn’t get overwhelmed. Some medicines’ tastes also get less intense when broken up into smaller pieces.

    6. Reward your child

    Finally, giving your child a reward. The reward doesn’t have to be something big, just enough to make them feel good for listening to you. It could just be a simple badge for taking the medicine for the day or a taste of their favorite snacks like the Candy Corner Gummy Bears or the Juju Minions Cracker Bites Banana for a sweet treat after a bitter pill.

    Learn more about Child Health here

    This story originally appeared on Edamama and is re-used with permission:

    This article does not provide medical advice, it is intended for informational purposes only. The article is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Edamama · Updated Jan 24

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