Medicines: Helping Children Swallow

At one time or another, almost every child will refuse to take a pill or swig of medicinal syrup. Here are some tips to help the medicine go down:

  • Be honest. Do not tell your child that the medicine is candy (he might suddenly crave a handful). Instead, explain that the medicine is very important and that you will find some way to help him to take it.
  • If liquids are the only option, a dropper or a plastic syringe might work better than a spoon. Most of your child’s taste buds are on the tip and center of his tongue, so aim for the back of the mouth.
  • Proceed with confidence. If you act like you’re expecting trouble, your child just might oblige.
  • Many children loath medicinal syrups, even those that come in sweet flavors. See if the same medication is available in a pill.
  • If your child doesn’t object to the concept of pills but can’t stand the taste, give him capsules or sugarcoated pills when they’re available.
  • Finally, don’t forget the value of a good bargain. Offer to play a game or read a story after he takes his medicine.


American Academy of Family Physicians, How to Give Your Child Medicine.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Parenting Corner Q&A: Medicine. March 2007.

© HealthDay

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