View Full Version : How do you get a toddler to take medicine??

02-19-2007, 03:37 PM
My 2 yr old has a bad cold but will not take her medicine (Sudafed, cough medicine). We usually give it to her in a medicine dropper. She refuses to take it -- we have tried to force her to take it out of desperation but it only made things worse (surprise surprise).

Any ideas on how to get her to take her medicine??

02-19-2007, 03:46 PM
We usually use 'bribes' with our kids, especially for the nasty stuff like Tussin (cough medicine). It's amazing what our kids will do for a sucker or other treat.

Good luck! Let's hope Spring gets here soon, I'm tired of all the sickness!!!

02-19-2007, 03:51 PM
Dronator is on the right path. As a kid I remember the only way I would take medicine was if my parents had a big spoonful of ice cream waiting for me afterwards.

02-19-2007, 03:53 PM
The best peice on info I received from my child's pediatrician, is that you do not need to give all of the medicine in one dose. You can dribble it in little by little over the course of a day into liquids or food so the flavor is diluted. So if the dosage is 2 tsp per day, you have a 24 hour period or to get the medicine into your child...or 1 tsp evert 12 hours.

Also, I found that giving my daughter a shirley temple with the medicine mixed in worked well. Just go a little heavy on the grenadine which really helps mask the flavor (and color) of the medicine.

Good luck!!!

02-19-2007, 03:54 PM
These are some of my tips:

Put it in a little Coke or Sprite
Put it in a little yogurt.
Put it in her mouth, close her mouth and blow in her face (my ped nurse gave me that one).
Put in her juice cup
Or sure fire as long as they are getting most of it, some of it will come out and they will still be fine

(Can you tell I have been through this a few times!!)

02-19-2007, 03:59 PM
We use a "syringe" type medicine dropper- once they open up, I can just shoot it straight to the back of their tongue. It works well, although I suppose if they won't open up in the first place it wouldn't work! :blush:
Lucky me, all of the kids (even our two foster daughters, aged 1 and 2) like taking medicine. Regardless, I'm with Dronator- can't wait for Spring and less need for cold meds! :cool:

02-19-2007, 04:55 PM
I was lucky with my DS6, I never had a problem giving him any meds but my DS4 is another story. I totally go with the bribery, the promise of two Hershey Kisses helps make the medicine go down a little easier. Good luck.

02-19-2007, 04:58 PM
We have used the spoons that have the hollow handle to measure the meds, droppers, syringes, and the medication pacifiers in the past. Fortunately we're past that age now. If you try the blowing in the face method, be prepared for a face full of medicine as she spits it back at you. You can also try those quick-dissolving medication strips - they're kind of sticky and hard to spit back out. For cough medicine since she is 2 yo, try Delsym - it's a 12 hr medication so you only have to dose twice a day and it actually tastes good - it's really sweet - and I think it works better than Robitussin which tastes really nasty. Any medication will go down better if you get it in the back of her mouth where there are fewer taste buds. And you can always use Mary Poppins method - a spoonful of sugar - it does work in a pinch.

02-19-2007, 05:00 PM
Just be prepared for lots of crying, fit throwing, kicking, screaming, and spitting! And that is just from the adults trying to administer the med.!!!;)

Seriously, I would ditto what the others have said about giving it in many small doses or trying to incorporate it into other things.

02-19-2007, 05:23 PM
I can say that you do not want to put the med in other foods/ drinks. For sudafed its not that big of a deal because that is more for comfort. But if it is antibioitcs or fever medication you di not want to do that...if they don't finich it all, you don't know how much they got. ON that note, my kids have never been really hard to give medicine, but for difficult kids you use a syringe and place toward the side of the cheek and shoot small amount of med to the back of the tongue and blow in the face before they get a change to spit it back out. It takes ALOT of patience.

02-19-2007, 06:07 PM
With my 1st child I used to keep 3 m&ms in my hand, I would give him1 before his medicine and 2 after the medicine. I never had troulble with my second taking his medicine, maybe I just became to mean and scared him into taking it.:thedolls:

The other thing I told my kids was "of course its going to taste bad, its medicine. I have never been one to try an sugar coat things with my kids if its bad its bad. This happened when my kids were old enough to understand what bad/nasty meant.

02-19-2007, 06:29 PM
I agree with the syringe method. That worked well at that age, but now that she is almost 4 we swear by Kids Mucinex. It is a little packet like a sugar packet that you pour on their toungue and it disolves. It rocks! It works quite well too . Not sure what the age minimum is, but check it out!

Good luck!

02-19-2007, 07:23 PM
Posted by BrownEyedGrrl
Regardless, I'm with Dronator- can't wait for Spring and less need for cold meds!

As a teacher of 1st graders, I cannot wait until spring either! This years class has just been passing the germs around for months and I keep getting sick too! (This week's special is strep-based tonsillitis :ill: )

Mary M
02-20-2007, 08:56 AM
We use a syringe and let my son squirt it into his own mouth. He prefers doing it himself.

02-20-2007, 09:32 AM
We used a syringe, and aimed for inside the cheek or under the tongue. I was always afraid if I hit the back of the throat they would choke on it. We were always lucky that, once in the mouth, they would swallow it.

You might try checking with your Dr. and seeing if you can switch brands of cold medicine. Some, like Robitussin, are just plain nasty, no matter what -- I still hate it:ack: . Others brands, like Dimetapp taste a whole lot better, and do the same thing.


02-20-2007, 10:34 AM
I have a 3 1/2 yr old who is very picky about his meds to. His pediatrian told me to mix it into a teaspoon of fluff ( I know not the healthiest thing in the world) they will usually take. Good luck I've been through alot of pleading, begging , and promises to get him to take his meds. You could also check to see if you could give those strips that melt almost immediately when placed in the mouth by the time the go to spit it out most is disolved anyways.

02-20-2007, 10:55 AM
#1 -- give child popsicle or freezie (to numb taste buds)

#2 -- give child syringe full of medicine to administer to his/herself.

#3 -- repeat step #1 if required.:mickey:

02-20-2007, 12:54 PM
Mary Poppins method:

a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down...:D
in the most delightful way!

( I never really use this method, just thought that since this was a Disney board...:mickey:

02-24-2007, 10:58 AM
I am a Mom and a pharmacist. Here is what I tell other mothers who have to give yucky medicine to their children:

Two of the best taste disguiers we know of are chocolate and peppermint (or really any type of mint). With most liquid medication it will not hurt to mix something into it to make it taste better. Try chocolate pudding or chocolate ice cream or some type of mint extract (but as someone mentioned earlier, if the medicine is an antibiotic be sure the entire dose is given).

I also use a syringe (we give them for free with each liquid prescription we dispense) and squirt to the back of the mouth. My kids (now 11 and 15) always liked to do the squirting themselves. Sometimes it took a bit longer to get the whole dose down, but they always managed to get it there. Good luck!! :thumbsup:

02-24-2007, 01:40 PM
My kids loved the flavoring in dimetapp. I had to use the generic flavoring for tylenol b/c they preferred that one. Sometimes the generic has a different flavoring and goes down easier. I agree w/ the above techniques but I would see if she prefers another flavor too. It makes things easier.
My middle one used to :ack: w/ the flavored tylenol and could only tolerate the generic flavoring. Don't know why- that's when we started experimenting.
I can't stand swallowning the musinex tablets I can't imagine hiding that flavor.
I also used to play a game w/ the meds too. We would use the syringe w/ koolaide.
My son loved to think the med was the army going in to fight the bad germs.

White Rose
02-24-2007, 02:24 PM
I was one of the worst children when it came to taking medication. My mom used to try to give me Dimetapp and Children's Tylenol when I was 4, and I hated it so much I could make myself throw it back up without doing ANYTHING.

After cleaning up vomit several times, my mom tried mixing the meds in with Sprite. It totally worked, and I was always managed to get better with that. Now, if you don't want to give your child Sprite, I would recommend some type of juice, or some type of clear liquid that could help mask the taste.

02-27-2007, 10:55 AM
I'm beginning to think my 4 year old is a hypochondriac! He loves taking medicine. Most nights he fakes a cough and begs me for medicine. Of course, I only give it to him if he really is sick:thumbsup:

02-27-2007, 11:30 AM
I'm beginning to think my 4 year old is a hypochondriac! He loves taking medicine. Most nights he fakes a cough and begs me for medicine. Of course, I only give it to him if he really is sick:thumbsup:

I've been reading this thread feeling guilty because Conor is also excellent taking medicine. But, in our case it's because he was a reflux baby and was on Zantac & Mylanta a few times a day at the age of 4 weeks old. :( He was eventually weaned off those meds after he turned a year but was so used to it that even as a toddler he just opened his mouth like a little bird when he needed meds. So, to this day, it's not an issue. But, it's been interesting reading the different ideas in case we ever face this problem, or for when my friends have trouble. I love the idea of the popsicle!! :thumbsup:

02-27-2007, 11:34 AM
I used to use the medicine shooter. Lots of over the counter medicines come in different flavors. I'd just try different ones till I found one my DS liked well enough. Sometimes he preferred to "shoot it in himself" other times I did the shooting. Worked great when he opened his mouth to scream. Followed up with a big glass of water (and yes I did do the surgar method...he thought that was funny).

Pills even today are another challenge. SIGH. I've had better luck giving them to a cat. For my DS however,I usually put them in yogart. And that seems to do the trick. Yogart seems to be GREAT at disguising everything. I've definately had some "frusterating" moments trying to get a pill down him regardless of the size. Automatically I always ask the doctor if I can break up the pill.

02-27-2007, 12:46 PM
If it's liquid medicine, give your child a squirt of Hershey's syrup first. The chocolate coats the mouth and your child can't taste the medicine. Worked every time for my kids.

04-14-2007, 09:01 AM
Me again,

I use to make it a game for my son, cause he would just hold it & take forever while I was just standing there watching forever!
I had him count to 3 or A_B_C then swallow.
As he got older I told him to just take it, cause he still wanted to count before swallowing!
Hope this helps!

04-14-2007, 11:28 PM
I like the Hershey's syrup tip. I had to convince my 4 y.o. nephew to take his Dimetapp today. I sat him on my lap and said that I really didn't like to hear him coughing like he was and it would make me feel better if he took him medicine. He drank it right down! He really is so good. But it's not always that easy.