If the thought of getting your child to take medicine sends shivers down your spine, trust me, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, which is why we came up with these savvy parenting hacks for making the medicine go down much easier!
Up until about age 10, my son hated taking medicine with a fiery passion. Thank goodness he rarely got sick, but when he did, getting him to take medicine became an epic battle. By the time I finally got the medicine in him, we were both in tears. Mary Poppins sang that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. In my son’s case, it was a spoonful of sugar, a juice chaser and a piggy bank full of whatever spare change was floating around in my purse! There has to be an easier way, right? Well, there is! Try one (or more, if you have a stubborn child like mine) of these parenting hacks for getting kids to take medicine.
Related: Teaching Kids About OTC Medicine Safety
Savvy Parenting Hacks to Get Kids to Take Medicine
If your kids are old enough, your first step before trying these parenting hacks for getting them to take medicine is, obviously, to try reasoning with them. That never worked on my kid, even when he was 8. Still, it’s worth a shot! A positive attitude will make a world of difference for your child who is always taking emotional cues from their parents. Make sure you explain that the medicine will help them feel better or keep them healthy so they can enjoy things like playing with friends or going to the park. Your approach can empower your child instead of making them feel anxious. Instead of announcing medicine time, try asking your child to show you how well they can take their meds. If that fails, onto the hacks!
Pacifier trick for babies
For babies, medicine time can be difficult as you can’t properly communicate and reason with an infant. To ease the stress, try cutting a small slit into a spare pacifier. Slide the dropper into the hole you created and let them enjoy the soothing factor of the binky while you gently administer the medicine.
The icky taste issue is a big problem for kids. You can ask your pharmacist to add flavoring to your child’s medicine – even over the counter cough medicines. OTC meds usually come in flavors like cherry or grape, but often it’s not enough. Purchase the medicine you want to use and inquire about flavoring options at the pharmacy counter. Let’s be brutally honest: cherry cough syrup still tastes like cherry cough syrup. Still, it’s a whole lot better than cough syrup without the cherry!
Make it fun
No one said medicine time has to be a sterile, boring time. Let your toddler or preschooler play doctor with her stuffed animal while you play doctor mom to her. Have a little tea party and give her something super tasty to chase away the medicine taste.
Try changing the temperature
Take temperature into account. Sometimes, medicine that has been in the fridge tastes better. Also note sensory issues, like eye drops. They can feel uncomfortable. Warm up the drops by holding the bottle in our hands for a few minutes to bring the liquid to body temperature. It will make a huge difference and feel less invasive for your baby or toddler. Just make sure you ask your doctor if its okay to change the temperature on the medicine. Some colloidal suspensions require specific temperatures.
“Hide” the medicine
Talk to your child’s doctor about options to “hide” the medicine. Some meds are ok to mix in juice or other drinks so your child has no objections. Try vegetable juices for the strongest mask that will also be good for dietary needs. For chalky medicines, try mixing it with yogurt. For years, I mixed my son’s allergy medicine drops in juice. Then one day, when he was about 5, he saw me doing it. That was the end of that. Moral of the story, this works well as long as you don’t get caught!
Numb the taste buds
Having your child suck on an ice cube, popsicle, or frozen treat will help numb or dull their taste buds. Make sure you give them the frozen snack just before medicine time or let them suck on the cold cube in between sips to help your kids during the process.
Your biggest tool is your voice. Talking with your child about the need for medicine and explaining why it’s important to take the medicine should always be the first step. Always check with your doctor for the best way to administer medicines or note meds that can and can’t be taken with food. The good news is, most kids are pretty good at coming around eventually and taking their medicine. For the truly challenging cases, like mine, well, you may need to try more than one of these parenting hacks at a time.
Do you have any parenting hacks for getting kids to take medicine without tantrums? Tell us in the comments!
17 thoughts on “7 Savvy Tricks for Getting Your Child to Take Medicine Without Tantrums”
That pacifier tip though is genious! My problem always was swallowing pills. Ugh,
My kids seem pretty ok with taking meds. probably becasue they never really take them.
Great tips! it could be an exausting process to give medicine to a child but i really thiink with thiese ii’m gonna save some time for me
Seriously great tips! My daughter is only 20 months but I know I will be needing these tips in the future!
I like the make it fun tip. That always works best in our family… with everything not just medicine.
I think if you find a medicine with a good flavor it really helps when youre trying to get your kid to take it
Some pretty cool tricks and tips, I totally needed to come across this topic! Thank you so much for sharing =) I can’t wait to try some of these’s for a happier success =)
My nephew has to take an iron supplement, so my sister and brother-in-law made it into a game. Every time he takes the medicine he becomes Ironman and has super powers. It’s adorable and works so well.
Great tips!! I thankfully haven’t had a problem with getting my kids to take medicine. Eye drops however, is a different story. sharing this with my mom groups!
All great tips. My son has always preferred liquid medication. He’s 19 and still hates to take pills.
As a Pharmacist’s wife, I approve! I even shared the ideas with him.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to get creative with getting kids to take medicine while working in the hospital! I was a huge believer in sticking it in applesauce or pudding. My patients (and their parents) seemed to always like that one.
I sometimes will put it in my kids’ food, that way they don’t know it is there. Or mix it with a drink.
So many great tricks! My kids always seemed to do just fine with taking medicines. Now my dog on the other hand!
LOVE this! I have one who takes medicine just fine and another who is so difficult! Ususally we try something sweet with it but I loved the idea for using something frozen like having them eat ice before. Definitely going to try it!
When mine were babies, I used to put the medicibe dropper and aim it towards their inner cheek and squeeze it out then gently stroke their cheek on the outside and their reflex is to swallow. Occasionally if the med tastes really bad, I still do that although they can swallow on command now :) Not putting all the meds on their tongue helps my 3 boys.
Our son is pretty good about medicines except for eye drops and you’d think we were sticking hot pokers in his eyes! We finally found that letting him “help” (by help I mean him touching the bottle like he is holding it while I administer them) made it a lot easier!