27 answers

How Do I Get Child to Take Medicine?

With the sudden changing weather my 3 year old son has caught a cold. He has been coughing. I have been giving him cough medicine but he fights me when I want to give it to him. I have explained to him that it will make him feel better but it doesn't help, I even try to brib him with candies or cookies. He just doesn't like the taste of the medicine.

Would appreciate any ideas. Thanks.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I tried the Triaminic strips and they worked. Now I don't have to hear any crying or have to chase him down to take his medicine.

Thanks to everyone for your responses.

Featured Answers

I know this is an old post - but don't forget that the new recommendations are that young children should not be given OTC cough/cold meds of any kind.

For cough, a humidifier and a spoonful of honey does the trick - for all ages over 1 yr old

Hi C.,

I give my son who is 4yrs old a shake with breakfast. It's full of vitamins, and if keeps him healthy. Even if he ends up getting sick, It does not effect him like the other kids. It comes in Chocolate or vanilla, so he thinks it's a treat, and I know he is getting a immune booster. :) Let me know if you want some info on it.

M.

Dear C.:

I am in the same boat!
I use a) homeopathy (the dissolving white tablets are easy and fun to take) for coughs,
b) I use liquid Chinese herbal formulas for coughs which I can put in juice or I squirt with a dropper in his mouth (sometimes he resists, but I use methods such as negotiation, choices, or distraction).
Pear juice mixed with water is highly effective to combat dry cough and lungs. Pears are highly lubricating. Also a humidifier in the bedroom at night is extremely helpful.

C. N

More Answers

Have you considered any "homeopathic" remedies for his cough/cold? I know there are children's teas for those symptoms. My DD loves tea, and when she is sick, I give it to her with a little honey and lemon, and leave it as warm as she can take it (to help break up the congestion). She loves the flavor, asks for it by name, and it hydrates her at the same time.

If he absolutely has to have that particular syrup, see if they make it in a dissolving tablet form. I've seen those recently, but have never tried them. Try changing flavors too. I distinctly remember HATING that icky pink bubble gum flavored stuff as a kid.

Another idea would be to watch Mary Poppins and make a big deal out of the "spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down" scene. You could sing the song, and act out the scene, and have him name the flavor his medicine will be. Then he will have that idea in his head while he takes it. Kids have great imaginations.

Hi C., have you tried giving a couple teaspoons of ice cream, pudding, or apple sauce after the medicine?

has the cough medicine been working? most of them don't. try getting a really fragrant onion and putting it in a shallow dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. put this by his bed at night and sleep well. i know it sounds ridiculous, but we were at our wit's end and my cousin said she does it all the time. it worked. now when we hear the cough coming on we buy a couple of onions and set up a humidifier in our son's room. works like a charm.

I am not sure about getting him to take medicine, but you could put the sudafed plugin in his room near his head when he sleeps. Put vicks vapor rub behind his ear and just a dab under his nose. That way it is not on his chest with these cold mornings and he won't be so easy to catch phomonia.

I would sometimes try to mix my kids medicine with juice that had the same flavor so it was a little hard to tell. You may want to try that but don't let him see you do it.

Hope it helps. T.

Is it prescription syrup? The Pharmacies can usually add a flavoring to it to make it taste better. Maybe a different flavor would work?

I know this advice will not set well with many, but this is what I know, so here goes!

Your son is three years old now. It is important that you teach him now that you love him, and that you make all decisions based on what you know to be best for him. That he is to do as you ask, because it is what is best. He needs to learn that sometimes you may ask him to do something that he doesn't want to do, but for his own good, he needs to do it anyway. He will need this skill of submission throughout his life. If he doesn't learn it at an early age, you will have a very tough row to hoe. Imagine him, 12 years from now. Do you want him to listen to you because you know what is best and you want him to trust you, respect you, and obey? Or do you want to have to convince him as to why you feel the way you do, and hope and pray that he agrees and listens to your advice? He will also need submission skills in the work force. You won't want a son that can't hold a job, that quits because the boss wanted him to do something that he didn't want to do. I know it may sound silly, projecting that far in the future, but he is learning skills and attitudes now that will affect the rest of his life, and it all starts somewhere!

I would suggest that you purchase medicine that doesn't taste bad. Make sure hold him on your lap (you don’t want to be chasing him around the house with a bottle and a spoon!) Tell him that it is time to take his medicine, and that it will help him get better. If he says he doesn’t like medicine, tell him you know, but that you love medicine because you love him, and it will make him better. If he refuses to take it, give him a little flick on the mouth with your index finger. CALMLY repeat the instruction that it is time to take his medicine, keep doing this until he obeys. Remain calm, do not under any circumstances, raise your voice. It may take awhile, if submitting is a new skill for him, but he will come to understand that an undesirable behavior reaps undesirable rewards. When he is finished taking his medicine, tell him he is a good boy and give him a love!

My daughter as chronic allergies so she coughs alot, she also hates the medicaten. Johnson Vapor rubb breaks the congestion and isnt as harsh as vicks(Which I am highly allergic too). I believe it is trimanic who makes these wonderful cough patches! If your child has sentive skin, just put it on the out side of his jammy top of the pillow he sleeps on. That is what we did for my dughter!

cough medicine sucker :) there great !! i get mine at walgreens

I went thru the same thing with my daughter. We have tried every trick in the book. Here are a few things that worked well for us:

1) triaminic thin strips! they dissolve on the childs tounge. i have even folded them up and shoved it inside a pices of candy or fruit snack

2) mix a liquid medicine in with some fruit juice ( you can't do this with antibotics)

If my daughter ever did need antibiotics I would tell them that she had a hard time taking oral meds. She would spit them out if we held her down & it was not effective. So the doctors would give her the shot instead. It was better in the long run.

Take care!

Have you tried letting him drink it from the little medicine measuring cup? My daughter is very picky about taking medicine but she loves to take it by herself. Pour it so that the medicine is just above the line, that way any spills or him not taking it all will be okay. Good luck!

I found that the easiest way was to use a dosing syringe. You can insert it back along the side of the mouth, and squirt it far enough back that they really have no choice but to swallow. I have also tried holding their little noses but with mixed results (my one daughter threw up on me!) I actually just stopped buying the children's versions of medicines. They hate the flavor no matter what, so I just looked for the highest concentration of the needed active ingredient and then gave half or quarter the dose. That way they are having to deal with a fraction of the nasty stuff in their mouths but receiving the same amount of medicine.

Hi C.,

I give my son who is 4yrs old a shake with breakfast. It's full of vitamins, and if keeps him healthy. Even if he ends up getting sick, It does not effect him like the other kids. It comes in Chocolate or vanilla, so he thinks it's a treat, and I know he is getting a immune booster. :) Let me know if you want some info on it.

M.

Have you tried the melt-away style meds? I think that it is Triaminic that makes one for cold and cough and Tylenol also has them. They are great, no fuss, no mess, no spill. I am a fan! I tell my 2.5 year old that it is candy and he gobbles it up. I wish that they would make all meds in this form.

I had this problem also. But I found that my kids love the taste of Motrin. The berry flavor. They have a cough and cold one also. It is the only medicine I can get them to take without a fight.

My son is a hard one to get to take medicine. If the medication is light in color, I let him color it with food coloring. He loves picking out a color and for some reason, this works irregardless of the taste.

C.,
My son is 2 1/2 and he was always good about taking medicine till about 6 months ago. I found that the strips that melt in their mouth is what I can get him to take. They make them in different flavors and they only taste it for a couple seconds, if you can just get it on the back of his tongue it should make things a little easier. Just be sure you get your finger out before the strip sticks to you! I hope this helps.
KC

hi C.,
we just pretend like we're taking it, too, and that we really like it. then we sort of walk away, turning our back on our child, like they're not going to be offered any. that is enough to generate a great interest in them in taking it. then, they're interested and have seen that it's something we like. a bit of reverse psychology, maybe? whatever it's termed, it does seem to work--and it allows the child to make the decision on their own, rather than us trying to force something on them (and the older they get, the more this seems to be an issue!) good luck!

Try using a syringe instead of the little cup. I sit on the couch, and have my son stand between my legs, I put one of his arms around my side and hold the other one which places his head between my arm and my chest. He hates medicine too, but i get it all down him instead of everywhere. And although he may get a little mad about it, its over and done with and we move on to something fun and I commend him for being a big boy and taking his medicine.

I get my girls to take their medicine by letting them chase it down with a favorite drink that they dont normally get.

Hi, What used to work for me was to add the medicine to a favorite juice in his cup...(you can also add a little Karo syrup.) Serve it to him with a meal of some kind, one that he likes with juice).

Best wishes...
C.

Triaminic thin strips. They are little strips of medicine that you pop in your child's mouth and they dissolve. I love them, my kids do too. They dissolve instantly and stick in the mouth so you child can't spit it out. Plus they taste pretty good also. They sell children and infant formulas.

i have a three year old daughter who also hates to take medicine but this last time she was sick i tried putting the correct amount in a srynge and letting her give it to herself. she puts it in her mouth and pushes the bottom. when shes done i congratulate her on being a big girl and ask her if she needs a drink. have never had a problem since.

Hi C.,
I've been a Mom for many many years (my oldest is 23 and our late in life blessing is now 21 mos).I have four children and I have never seen proof positive that cough medicine actually works. Look for an essential oil called "thieves"- this product is awesome and is made with cinnamon and cloves. It smells wonderful and works great, plus no harmful product ingested by the child.
Hope this helps!
T.

Hello, C.. Being a mother of a 4 year old myself, I know what you are going through. I also seem to be battling with this same issue, with my 2 year old. My solution, with the 4 year old, I offer a cup of Kool-aid immediately after, and it seems to work. As for my 2 year old, I place it in a Tipee Cup that has about 2 ounces of Kool-aid or her favorite drink, and that seems to work for me also. I hope that I have been of some help.

Dear C.:

I am in the same boat!
I use a) homeopathy (the dissolving white tablets are easy and fun to take) for coughs,
b) I use liquid Chinese herbal formulas for coughs which I can put in juice or I squirt with a dropper in his mouth (sometimes he resists, but I use methods such as negotiation, choices, or distraction).
Pear juice mixed with water is highly effective to combat dry cough and lungs. Pears are highly lubricating. Also a humidifier in the bedroom at night is extremely helpful.

C. N

Another idea is to put Vicks vapor rub on the bottom of their feet and put socks on them before they go to bed. Sounds crazy but usually works much better than any oral medications.

I know this is an old post - but don't forget that the new recommendations are that young children should not be given OTC cough/cold meds of any kind.

For cough, a humidifier and a spoonful of honey does the trick - for all ages over 1 yr old

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