Health Library

Categories > Children’s Health > Raising healthy kids

How do I get my child to take medicine?
As long ago the no telet

No matter how healthy your child may be, it’s inevitable that sooner or later your little one will suffer a bug that calls for taking a liquid medicine. Some children are quite cooperative, but others need a little coaxing (or a lot!) to get the stuff down the hatch. And let’s face it—some medicines truly do taste yucky. Summon your patience and persistence and try these tips for helping the medicine go down:

  • Use the right utensil. Measure the correct dose with a cylindrical dosing spoon or cup. (Don’t use a regular kitchen spoon.) With a calibrated dosing syringe, you can squirt the medicine inside baby’s mouth, making it less likely to be spit out.
  • Try a mix-in. Stir the medicine dose into a small bit of soft food like yogurt, applesauce or pudding. Use only a small amount of food and make sure your child eats it all. But check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure it’s OK to mix the food and medicine.
  • Add a flavor. Many grocery or pharmacy chains offer a slew of flavorings such as chocolate, bubblegum or grape that can be added to prescription medications.
  • Try a different form. Ask the doctor whether the medicine comes in quick-dissolve tablets that melt in the mouth or tablets you can crush and add to a spoonful of ice cream.
  • Chill it. Refrigerating medication can make it more palatable. Check with the pharmacist to ensure it won’t alter the drug’s effectiveness.
  • Offer a reward. When your child’s sick, a little bribery isn’t a terrible thing. Offer to give a treat, read an extra story or play a board game. Keep it small—a usual course of antibiotics can mean 20 doses.