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Short of giving her a spoonful of sugar, how can you get your child to take her medicine? Try these clever tips and tricks suggested by other our site parents.
Just keep in mind that some medicines shouldn't be taken with certain foods – or with any food at all. Be sure to ask your child's provider or a pharmacist before combining (or following up) your child's medication with a treat.
Offer a reward
"We tell our daughter to 'think pink' (or red or whatever color the medicine is), and then she takes it with no problems. Whenever possible, we give it to her with a meal or snack, and she's been known to refuse the food until she gets the medicine!"
"We give my son a choice. If he takes all his medicine, he can go outside, get a sticker for his sticker book, or go to grandma's house for an hour. He always goes to grandma's house."
"We discovered with our granddaughter that letting her take her medicine in a different, and sometimes silly, location (like standing in the bathtub or sitting on the washing machine) can help. She's more focused on getting to do something silly than on actually taking the medicine."
Try another form
"I switched to pills as soon as possible with my older son. It's much easier because your child can get them down without tasting them."
"We discovered the beauty of 'thin strips' (medication in the form of paper-thin strips that dissolve on the tongue). No more battles or puddles of liquid medicine on the floor."
Make it more appealing
"I tried the flavors that pharmacists can add to liquid medicine, and they worked great with my youngest daughter. I get everything in her favorite flavor (watermelon), and it all goes down just the way it's supposed to."
"I have my 5-year-old hold his nose (or I hold it for him). It's just silly enough to take the 'ick' factor out and keeps him from tasting the medicine."
"Although the pill my child takes is very small, it helps when she takes it with milk instead of water. Because the milk has a thicker consistency, the pill goes right down with it."
"My son wouldn't take his medicine because it was very chalky and yucky (even to me), so I mixed it with a teaspoon of yogurt. I called the pharmacist first, and he said that was okay to do with that specific prescription. Goes down easy now!"
Make it fun
"My daughter just had to take medication for a kidney infection. She's 11 and usually can handle any meds, but this stuff was awful. We made it into a smoothie twice a day, and she said she couldn't even taste the meds. We did yogurt, banana, frozen berries, and some juice."
"I buy the dye-free medicine when available, then I get out food coloring and let [my son] pick what color he wants. He's so excited about the idea that his tongue will be blue or green that he wants to take it."
Do what works
"As a pediatrician, I've found that different meds require different techniques. Asking the pharmacist to add flavors works well for some meds. Alternative forms (like dissolving tabs) are available for others. Chocolate syrup (the kind for mixing with milk) covers up the taste of almost anything. Pharmacies and baby stores also sell a lot of products to help. Most important, make sure your child takes the medicine at the right time! It's terrible to have to stick a kid with a needle or even hospitalize him because he didn't get the meds he could have taken by mouth at home."