Top tips for getting your child to take medication

While Mary Poppins may have resorted to a spoonful of sugar, you may need to find another way to get the medicine down.

Try these tactics to persuade your child to take medication.

When your child is not feeling well, he may resist taking medication, even though he knows it will help him feel better.

Liquid medications can be unpleasant to swallow (not all taste like grapes or chewing gum), and pills can be very difficult, especially for young children. According to one study, 50% of children have difficulty swallowing standard-sized medications.

We’ve put together some tips on how to convince your child to take their medication.

Start early: It’s best to start teaching your children to take medicine when they’re young, around 4 or 5 years old, before they get afraid to swallow things. Waiting until children are eight or nine may be too late.

Set a good example: when it comes to the way they act and talk, children tend to copy their parents – and taking medication is no exception. Showing your children how to swallow medicine and pointing out how simple it is can reassure them.

When your child is ready, insert the pill behind their teeth or the back of their tongue and adjust their chin so their head is tilted back. Tell them to swallow the pill as if it were a piece of food.

Hide the taste: Children frequently place a pill in their mouth but do not swallow it immediately. The pill coating then melts and they taste bad, so they spit the pill out. A proven method is to disguise the taste of drugs with food. A good trick is to hide a pill in a piece of chocolate, for example, or a liquid medicine in a scoop of ice cream.

Switch things up: If your child has ever turned their nose up at the medicine spoon, try giving them the medicine in a dropper.

Offer an incentive: a little bribe can go a long way in this case. Promise your child a modest but special price in exchange for taking their medication. Stickers or a little trinket could entice them to open wide.