Getting Young Children To Take Medicine: It Is Possible

Think back to when you were a child and chances are you'll remember all the times you simply refused to take medicine. Well, now you're a parent, and it's your turn to try and convince your young child that he or she really needs to take medicine -- and it's your turn to deal with crying and the word "No." But it's not impossible to get your child to take medicine without an argument. While doctors that specialize in pediatrics can offer some advice, knowing why the child is rejecting the medicine helps you devise a way to get him or her to take it easily.

Mix With Food When Possible

Sometimes the child doesn't like the idea of medicine at all, in which case you have to hide it if possible. If the medication can be taken with food, hide it in ice cream, applesauce, or another food that the child likes to eat. Be sure the food is heavily flavored to help mask the taste of the medicine. If you have to grind up a pill and mix it in, try to put it in something that has a crumbly texture.

Add Flavor at the Pharmacy

If you can't combine the medication with food, and it's a liquid medication, the pharmacy should be able to add a flavor to make it taste better. No more pseudo-cherry syrups that make your child gag; now, pharmacies can add everything from banana to root beer flavorings. This is a very good option if the taste is the only thing stopping your child from taking the medicine.

Teach Them How to Take Pills

Another reason children might avoid a medication is time. Taking a spoonful of liquid or trying to chew a pill takes a bit of time because the child still has to deal with the aftertaste. It's also possible that the child just doesn't want to deal with any taste. In this case, teaching the child to swallow pills is a good idea because the swift nature of that method may suit the child more. Start with mini marshmallows cut in half and gradually increase the size of what the child is trying to swallow.

Try to Take Your Medicine or Vitamins at the Same Time

If you have vitamins that you take, or if you have to take a medicine too, see if your timing matches that of the child's medication timing. If so, try taking your vitamins or medication in front of the child to show it's no big deal. The child may take his or her medication simply to copy you.

If you're still having trouble, you can get more help from a pediatrician. There are a number of other tactics you can try, so don't get discouraged. Eventually you'll find the method that works best.