Getting Your Toddler to Take Medicine

Cynthia Dermody

getting kids to take medicine

Photo by Heart_Mommy

When your toddler is sick and has to take antibiotics or fever medicines, how does it go? Is your child anything like this one?

"My 3 year old son absolutely hates to take medicine. It doesn't matter what flavor or form. We have tried chewable, liquid, nasal sprays, grape, bubblegum, orange, cherry, raspberry. I have tried putting it into drinks. He won't eat applesauce or yogurt, and never seems to want to eat ice cream when I want him too. It's exhausting, any ideas?"  -- ChevelleGirl

Wow, if ice cream won't work, I don't know what will! But here's how other moms chatting in The CafeMom Newcomer's Club get those critical meds down:

-- I let him do it himself. I measure it out, and if it's in a syringe, I hold it in his mouth and let him push the plunger. If it's a cup, he holds it and downs it.

-- I tell my 2 year old, "Come on, let's take this medicine." If she doesn't cooperate, I tell her she has two choices: She can take it or I'll make her take it. Most times she chooses to take it. If not, I blow in her face to make her take a breath and swallow it (the doctor recommended that!).

-- I pretend to take it first and say how "yummy" it is.

-- Being a single mom, I had to get creative. Here was my technique:

I would sit on the floor and place his head in my lap, so his face would be up and his legs would be facing the same direction mine were. I would then wrap my legs over his legs and his arms and use a syringe to get the medicine down his throat. After it was all done, I would give him a small glass of pop to calm him down and wash down the medicine. This sounds like torture, but I just had to remind myself he needed the medicine to get better.

-- I tell my kids that they can take the medicine or we can go get a poke-poke (shot)  and they will take it.

-- I made the pediatrician give her a stern lecture about how she had to take the medicine next time she was prescribed it. Sometimes hearing it from another person that they can't manipulate does the trick.

-- Try a reward system like a sticker chart. Give him a sticker every time he takes his medicine like a big boy, and once he reaches a certain amount of stickers, get him a small toy like a Matchbox car or whatever he is into.


How do you get your toddlers to take medicine?

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doctor visits, health, sick days