At one point or another, most parents will have to give medication to their kids. If you are one of the lucky few who hasn’t had this experience, take note. The simple act of giving medicine or even just a vitamin to your child can result in a battle of wills that closely resembles a knock-down drag-out fight.
Vitamins and medicine are necessary for your child’s health. Accordingly, it’s important to make this process as pain free as possible, and there are several ways through which you can convince your children that taking their medicine is actually a good thing.
Mix the Medicine or Vitamin with a Desirable Food
Ask your doctor if the medicine can be mixed into a food like yogurt or pudding. Perhaps it could even be dissolved in a liquid like apple or orange juice. Any strong flavored food or drink can do the trick. Many medicines can be taken this way if the child eats all of the food or drinks all of the liquid. Use caution when mixing medicine with liquids in particular, as some of the dose can be left on the sides of the bottle or cup.
As an alternative to placing the medicine or vitamin in a food or drink, consider having a chaser. A spoonful of chocolate syrup or a cup of apple juice have strong enough flavor to mask the flavor of the medicine.
Listen to Why They Are Reluctant to Take the Medicine
Taking medicine or vitamins can make kids feel pretty powerless, especially if they are sick. They already feeling lousy, and you’re trying to make them take something that they know tastes awful. When your child exhibits reluctance to take their dose, ask them why. Take a moment to listen to what’s troubling them. This momentary act of kindness can sometimes produce magical results. Your child feels listened to, and you have a chance to address their concerns.
Explain the Benefits of Vitamins and Medicine
Make it clear to your child what the outcome of taking their medicine or vitamins is. Explain that he or she will be able to play outside again or visit with a favorite friend. Show them how the medicine will help them or how it already has helped them. Remind them that they were able to sleep through the night because the medicine made them feel better or point out that they aren’t coughing as much today. When you point out the benefits of the medicine, most children become more willing to comply with your request.
Keep Medicine Cold
If the doctor approves, keep the medicine refrigerated, as cold things tend to not have quite as strong a flavor as things at room temperature. Also, consider dulling your child’s taste buds by having them suck on some ice chips before taking their dose. A popsicle can also work wonders for making the medicine go down easier.
Give Your Child a Sense of Control
Your child needs to take their medicine or vitamins regardless of how they feel about it, which puts you firmly in control. However, your child may feel better about the situation if they have a say about their preferences. You might let them choose the room in which they’ll take their medicine and which spoon they will use. They can also have a say about whether to drink orange or apple juice after the dose. Let them decide whether to take medicine before or after brushing their teeth or doing other tasks. This gives your child the sense that they are at least somewhat in control of the situation.
Generously Reward Taking Vitamins and Medicine
Taking medicine or vitamins is a big deal and it should be rewarded. With each dose that your child successfully takes, provide a small reward. Things like clapping, a big hug and providing vocal reinforcement can go a long way. Some parents offer a sticker or a small piece of candy as a reward. Whatever route you take, your child will understand that they have gained your approval and are more likely to repeat this success when it’s time to take their medicine again.
Ron Thompson writes for Del-Immune V®, a unique Delpro probiotic supplement made from the lactobacillus rhamnosus which is a natural immune system booster.