Top Tips for Encouraging Kids to Take Their Medicine

August 2020

Trying to encourage your child to take medicine can be a daunting task. Between bitter liquids and chalky chewables, it’s easy to see why medicine time can quickly become a stressful experience for both kids and adults.

These three tips can help make the process a little less painful though:

1. Talk about it.

Even adults can turn their nose up at taking medication. But, we understand why it is important to our health and well-being. Kids may need the same education. The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles suggests that you listen to your kids about their fears or dislikes — and then chat openly about how the medicine will help and why it’s important to take it.

2. Give your child a choice.

Allowing your child some agency can help with the process. Whenever possible, let your kid pick liquid or chewable medicine, which flavoring to have added or even whether to take it before or after dinner. Offering these choices, small as they may be, gives your child a sense of control, which can help prevent medicine time from turning into an unnecessary battle between parent and child.

3. Improve the taste.

Masking the taste of a medicine can go a long way in helping with adherence, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Many pharmacies offer different flavor options for liquid medications to make them more palatable. And, while a spoonful of sugar won’t work as well as Mary Poppins once suggested, giving your child their medicine with applesauce or orange juice can help improve the taste too. The Cleveland Clinic also recommends offering your child a popsicle. It’s a sweet incentive that has the added benefit of numbing the tongue, which makes less-than-ideal-tasting medicines more palatable.

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