As if taking care of your sick child weren’t hard enough, getting them to take their medicine can be yet another hurdle, especially if they always put up a fight.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid power struggles and make the whole experience less taxing for both you and your child. If your “here comes the airplane” or “peekaboo” tactic no longer works, here are some strategies from our very own board-certified pediatricians here at Children’s Medical Center to help you successfully coax your child into taking their medicine.
Tip #1 Go in with the Right Attitude.
Your emotions can have a big impact on your child’s compliance. If you are worried or stressed about having to convince your child to take their medicine, they can easily absorb this, and thus, feel anxious and more resistant. Additionally, if “medicine time” is always associated with frustration, your child will likely remember it the next time, and the whole experience can become more stressful for both you and them.
Try to have a positive attitude and put on a happy face. If your child gets upset, leave it for 30 minutes or so (if you’re able to) before trying again.
Tip #2 Explain to Your Young One Why Medicine Is Important.
If your child is old enough to understand, it can help to explain why they need to take the medicine and how it will help them. For instance, you could tell your child that their antibiotics can help them make their throat feel better, so they can go out and play with their friends again. Doing so might be just what you need to get your child on board with taking their medication.
Tip #3 Play Pretend.
If you have a preschooler, role play may help. Play pretend with your child: act like you’re taking the medicine and drinking out of an empty cup, or have your child give their medicine to their favorite doll or stuffed animal before taking theirs.
Tip #4 Speak with Your Pediatrician.
If you’re always having trouble getting your child to take their medicine, consider enlisting the help of your pediatrician. Discuss whether there are other options available. Some medicines taste better than others, and there are those that can be given less frequently.
Tip #5 Hide the Taste.
If a medicine tastes particularly bad, it may help to mask the flavor. You could try dipping the back of the medicine spoon into pancake syrup before filling it with the medicine. Or you could try offering your child a popsicle or some melon afterward to wash the taste away.
Tip #6 Set Up a Reward System.
If all else fails, try setting up a reward system—it can be a powerful motivator. It can help to give your child a sticker to get a prize of their choice, such as a toy or fun activity, each time they take their medicine without any trouble. You can also come up with a treasure chest filled with toys, so they can pick one every time they take their medicine.
Board-Certified Pediatricians in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, our pediatricians recognize and understand the challenges of parenthood. As such, we gladly work alongside parents to equip them with useful information, which empowers them to make the wisest health decisions for their children. Teaming up with our pediatricians means your child is in very safe, competent, and nurturing hands.
To learn more about our pediatric services or to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatricians, contact us at one of our four convenient locations. You may also use our convenient appointment request form, and our scheduler will get in touch with you as soon as possible to arrange your visit.