Clever ways to help the medicine go down for the little ones | 4 min read

With a bit of creativity, parents and caregivers can make children’s medicine-taking an easier experience for themselves and the children.

The following tips may help:

Stay calm
This may be difficult, but if you can stay calm and not get tensed and worried if they will take it, children will be a lot more receptive. Kids can pick up on negative tone and body language.

Mind the tongue
To avoid kids spitting out bitter-tasting medicine, some parents continue to use syringes and droppers even when their children are older. Slide the syringe or dropper along the cheek, toward the back of the mouth to bypass the tastebuds and squeeze it slowly. Or you can rest a dropper halfway back on the tongue and have your child suck on it.

Control issues
Let your child feel like they have some control by giving them options. Ask them if they would like to sit or stand, hold the syringe, or decide what food or drink they want to take with the medicine. A dropper or a cup? Having a choice can give them a sense of empowerment.

Everybody loves “Frozen”
Putting the medicine in the fridge before giving it might make a difference. Ice can somewhat shut off the taste buds, so a lick of ice before and after taking the meds can help a kid cope with the taste. Children will barely taste the medicine if their tongues are cold and numb before they take it. Start by giving them ice chips or an ice lolly a couple of minutes before their meds. Then stop them mid-way, give the dose, and let them finish the ice pop.

Play doctor-doctor
Have your kid pretend to give a stuffed animal medicine before they take theirs. 

Honesty is the best policy
Be honest and understanding. Once your kids get to the age of reason – usually three and older – you can explain that the medicine will make them feel better. Do not lie to your children and tell them the medicine will taste good if it’s not.

Help me
Ask your doctor about other forms of medicine, such as chewable tablets. Some medications taste better than others, and some can be given twice a day instead of four times a day. Your doctor may be able to choose medicines that taste better or are more concentrated and need to be taken less often.

Choose the proper dosing tool
Liquid medications usually come with a cup, spoon, or syringe to ensure you give your child the correct amount. Always use the dosing device that comes with the medication. Be sure you always follow the directions that your doctor or pharmacist gave you.

  • Dosage cups
    Use dosage cups for kids old enough to drink from a cup without spilling. Measure by placing the cup at eye level on a flat surface. Give the medicine slowly and allow your child to swallow between sips.


  • Dosing spoons
    They are like test tubes with spoons at the end and work best for kids who can drink out of a cup. Measure at eye level, then have your child sip from the spoon.


  • Droppers
    Droppers are used mainly for babies because they cannot chew or swallow capsules. Medicine droppers have a measuring line on them. Squeeze the rubber top, put the dropper in the medicine, and let go of the rubber top to suck up the mixture. Hold your baby in your lap. Raise his or her head slightly. If she is lying down completely flat, she could choke. Rest her head against your body. It is often helpful to slightly squeeze both their cheeks until the medicine is swallowed. This helps keep them from spitting the mixture out.


  • Syringes
    They allow you to squirt medicine into the back of a baby’s or young child’s mouth, where it’s less likely to spill out. Research shows that parents measure most accurately with syringes versus cups. When exact dosing matters, first measure with a syringe, and then place the medicine in a cup, if that is what the child prefers. Put the syringe tip in the mixture and pull the plunger up until the medication is at the level you want. Next, hold your child securely in a cradle-like position. Place the syringe to the side and the back of the mouth. Slowly push down the plunger on the syringe to give your child time to swallow.


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