Four Ways To Help Preschoolers Take Medicine

Your preschooler’s down with strep throat and you’ve got the prescription filled. Two teaspoons three times a day for the next week – and it tastes really awful. Oh, what bleak lives we lead!

You can talk to a child ’til you’re blue in the face about the benefits of taking medicine, but a preschooler who’s decided he won’t take it is a pretty formidable opponent. If you’ve already tried replacing the syrup with a better tasting, chewable or different flavored medicine (and failed), you may need other strategies to fall back on.

Mix It Up or Chase It Down

You’ll have to get an all-clear from your pharmacist or doctor, but mixing foul-tasting meds with yogurt, applesauce, peanut butter or even chocolate spread is a proven method for many parents. Sometimes the treatment can be used like a chaser – an immediate reward for taking the medication and an aftertaste buster.

The Cold Method

If your preschooler likes frozen treats, like juice popsicles, have her lick one before giving her a teaspoon or syringe full of anti-biotic. On top of the strong flavor of orange or grape, you’ve also dulled her taste buds a little with the cold. See if it’s okay to store the medicine in the fridge – that may help, too.

Take Your Medicine First

One desperate preschool mom concocted a bottle of ‘medicine’ for herself. Knowing how much her son disliked tomato juice, she refrigerated a small bottle of V8, even adding extra black pepper to it for punch – and made a big to-do when she had to take her spoonful. He agreed that her medicine was worse (she’d offered to trade), and manfully kept his side of the bargain, swallowing his medicine after she’d had hers.

A Little Control Goes A Long Way

Your child is being forced to swallow something disgusting. Let her decide between a spoon or squirter; little sips or one big gulp; the type of treat or flavor of a popsicle. Give her as much choice in the matter as possible, and that maybe the sugar you’re looking for to get the medicine to go down.