Tips and tricks to get your child to take medicine without a fight

Mary Poppins was crazy when she said, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Obviously, she didn’t have tantrum-throwing strong-willed littles who run away at the sight of a medicine dropper.

I’ve lied to my kids and told them it would taste good. I’ve held them down against their will. I told them the medicine came straight from Elsa’s ice palace in the northern mountains. I’ve even choked down the medicine myself to show them it wasn’t that bad (it was). Yet they still wouldn’t budge.

I scoured mommy message boards and groups and talked to some moms about their best tips and tricks below. Please note: it is always best to check with your pediatrician for their stamp of approval before adopting these methods. What’s right for one child may not be right for another.

Products/tips for littles

Ava the Elephant

Created by a frustrated mom and made popular on “Shark Tank,” Ava the Elephant is a cute looking toy that doubles as a medicine dispenser through a dropper in its mouth. The new and improved version, which launched this year, sings sweet, soothing sounds.

Pacifier medicine dispenser

If your child still uses a pacifier, this is a no-brainer for giving a dose of medicine in a soothing way. Safety 1st is a trusted brand that makes a dispenser with easy-to-read dosage markings and a unique design to ensure there’s no leftover medicine.

Put it in a bottle

Easy enough and worth a try. Just make sure to give your child a little less milk or formula then they’d normally take to ensure they finish the bottle.

Tips for older kiddos

Add flavoring

Before filling the medicine, ask the pharmacist if there are flavoring options. Typically, most pharmacies use FLAVORx, which comes in more than 40 flavors including cherry, grape and bubble gum for a small additional fee.

Blow in their face

After administering the medicine, blow in your child’s face. This is said to cause them an instant reflex to swallow it.

Disguise it in food or juice

If you go this route, we’ve heard that apple juice, applesauce, yogurt and ice cream are optimal.

Freeze it

Put the medicine in an ice cube tray, freeze it and add a stick. Tell your child it’s a popsicle.

Provide a chaser

Whether its chocolate syrup, fruit punch or a glass of water, giving something to your child immediately after taking their medicine will wash away the bad aftertaste.

Put the medicine on the side of their cheeks

So many moms swear by aiming a syringe at the pouch inside the cheek. The thought behind this method is that if the medicine is kept off the tongue, it will bypass the taste buds and easily glide down the throat.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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