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Tips For Getting Children to Take Their Medicine

A Spoonful of Patience Makes the Medicine Go Down

Leaving your tot's pediatrician armed with a prescription provides mixed emotions: delight that the crud making your sweet child miserable might actually disappear and fear over how the heck you're going to get an already unhappy tot to actually take his medicine. Got a little medicine refuser on your hands? You are not alone, so here are 12 tips for getting the prescribed stuff down as smoothly as possible.

1. Get It Flavored

For many, this is common sense, but moms running on coffee and five minutes of sleep don't always have the luxury of common sense. Don't forget to ask the pharmacist if they can flavor the medication!

2. Sneak It in Food

Kids are not dogs, I know, but sometimes we can apply the same principles. If your child is opposed to taking the medicine alone, sneak it his favorite food — just be sure to OK it with the doctor or pharmacist first.

3. Provide a Chaser

Again please check with the pharmacist first, but usually it's perfectly OK to allow your child to swig or chew up a chaser right after successfully taking down the medicine. I keep a bag of jelly beans right alongside my kiddo's medicine, and it works like a charm.

4. Split the Dose

If the Rx calls for one teaspoon, give 1/4 teaspoon every minute for four minutes. The tiny doses might help weary children suck it down little easier.

5. Let Him Have Control

Wrestling my son to the ground just so he would swallow his allergy medicine got exhausting, so one day, I just handed him the loaded plunger and said, "Then you do it." And guess what? He did, he still does, and it hasn't been a problem since.

6. Change Up the Delivery Approach

If your child already has negative associations with a plunger or syringe, how about trying a spoon (that you've premeasured) or small cup? Sometimes the change fixes the struggle.

7. Ask For a New Medication

Typically there are different types of medicines available, so if your tot simply can not stomach one antibiotic, phone his doctor and ask if there is any other (better-tasting ones) that he can try. Some might even take different forms (chewables vs. liquids).

8. Blow in Baby's Face

Babies are born with a medicine-handy reflex: when their faces are blown on, they will swallow. Oh, and older kids? Not really big fans of this method — you've been warned!

9. Aim, Fire

Sometimes it's all about your aim. With a young baby, you might have more success if your push the medicine back into the sides of the mouth or cheeks. With older kids, try aiming to the back of the mouth, where taste buds are not as prominent.

10. Give Choices

Many parent-child battles revolve around control. So hand over the control in a controlled way and allow them to choose. Do you want your medicine before bath or after? Should I use this plunger or this plunger?

11. Game On

When in doubt, make it game. Fill up a dropper with water for yourself (or a sibling), fill your babe's up with the medicine and race him to finish it. Winner (him, always) takes home a superfun prize. Or do a sticker chart — after 10 stickers, he gets a toy.

12. Don't Try This at Home

Unless you are 100 percent confident that you can keep the happiest, most nondisgusted look on your face while trying your tot's meds in front of him, ultimately proving just how delicious antibiotics are, then don't do it. Most medicine is pretty nasty, and one wrong move can ruin it for everyone.

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