Giving a sick child medicine is essential to help them feel better, but that doesn't mean your little ones will always cooperate with your efforts. They may complain about the taste of liquid medicines or resist swallowing pills, and some may decide to rebel just because they can. However, there are some ways to make the process easier.
Why Won't My Child Take Their Medicine?
Each child is different so start by figuring out why your child is avoiding taking their medicine. One of the most significant factors is taste. Remember that young children tend to be more sensitive to intense flavors. Even medicine with fruity or sweet flavors can taste very strong to a child, and they may not like it.
Your child may also push back to taking their medicine because of the way it is presented. Consider how different it is to take a dose of medicine compared with eating any other food. Your child is probably used to eating in a specific place and a particular way. A spoonful or capful of mysterious liquid served in a bathroom may be off putting.
Medications in pill form offer a physical reason for children not to want to take them. Younger children may have a hard time swallowing a pill. If a pill starts to dissolve in their mouths, it can create a bad taste that the child will associate with taking medicines.
You also want to ensure you are a suitable patient when you are sick—model good reactions to taking medicines so that children learn the same.
Start Teaching Your Child Young
Young children benefit a lot from communication, including around medication. Talk to them early about how medicines help us. If you can, get them accustomed to taking medication by starting them on a supplement such as the ones from Wellements. If they are familiar with the idea of taking small pills or gummies, getting them to accept medicine when they are sick may be more manageable.
Explain The Benefits
In the same spirit of communication, tell your child why they need the medicine they are about to take. Try to link it to their symptoms as best you can, using sentences such as "This medicine will make your tummy hurt less" or "This syrup will help you stop coughing." Teach them that taking their medicine correctly will keep them healthy and strong.
Adding Medicine To Food
Sometimes, even the best efforts to sway your child to take their medicine will fall a bit short. In those cases, food can be a good tool for parents. Soft foods are a great place to start since your child is already used to swallowing these foods without much chewing. Smash tablets and mix them in with yogurt, pureed fruit, or oatmeal.
Whole pills can be hidden in more solid foods such as cheese or bananas. If you use food to deliver medicine, ensure the entire dose is consumed. For instance, if you mix a pill into a serving of applesauce, get your child to eat all the food, so they don't miss out on the medicine they need.
Offer An Element Of Control For Your Child
Children are often more cooperative when they have a say in what is happening, including taking medicine. While adults always need to be in charge of administering medications, give your child a say in the small things. Let them choose their cough syrup flavor or whether they take their medicine in the bathroom or the bedroom.
Taking medicine isn't always a favorite activity for children, but with a few simple practices, you can make it easier for everyone.