If you’ve had a kid for any measure of time, you probably cringe whenever you know you’ll need to administer 10 days of antibiotics or Tylenol every 4 hours. Why? Because medicine for children is horrible tasting and it makes babies and kids go completely insane with everything from spontaneous anger-vomiting to caveman-esque fits of screaming rage.
So, what’s the solution? I wouldn’t call my findings “solutions” exactly, but my friends and I have developed some good strategies to try. Every kid is different. I have one friend who said her kids have always loved taking medicine. So, that’s weird. But, for most, you’ve got to go into administering medicine with a game plan.
Here are some tips that have worked (or helped, at least) for my people and me:
Give Them Some Control
Several of my friends said they let their children drink medicine on their own – squirting the syringe all by themselves. Obviously, you can’t use this strategy with an infant*. But, for kids who are old enough to put up a fight or pull out the hysterics, giving them some small form of control can go along way.
The hardest part of being a kid is how little control you have. Everyone, everywhere is constantly telling you what to do. “Here, drink this stuff that tastes like poison because it will help you!” That means nothing to a screaming threenager. So, do your best to put on a fun-face and give your child the “privilege” of squirting the medicine all by themselves!
Another choice you can grant them is how they take it. If you ask your pharmacist, they can usually provide you with a (free) medicine syringe or medicine spoon (kind of looks like a tube with a spoon on the end). My 4-year-old likes to drink her medicine out of a regular medicine cup with a tiny straw (I cut a regular straw down) and she likes to have a drink with a straw ready by her side and a wet paper towel (because she doesn’t like getting sticky). I happily indulge her in these preferences because when she feels better about it, so it’s much easier.
Even choosing their favorite color of medicine might help. Of course, it’s all equally yucky – you know that. But to them, getting to drink pink medicine might feel less “traumatic” than drinking blue medicine.
Watch YOUR Approach
Our kids feed off our emotions. If we stress, they stress. I can remember being little and flying on airplanes with my mom when she had to travel for work. At a certain age I learned that plane crashes were a thing, so of course flying became terrifying to me. When the plane would get into some turbulence, I’d always look at two people – my mom and the nearest flight attendant. If they looked worried, I would go into full-blown-panic-we’re-all-gonna-die mode. If they looked calm, I knew everything would be okay.
When you’re going to give your kid medicine, be calm, but even more, be SILLY. One friend of mine said that she starts out with a little drop on her son’s tongue and then they do the “yucky” dance before finishing the medicine. Maybe put a drop on your own tongue, too! If you can trigger laughter during the yucky medicine process, you’re ahead of the game.
Older Kids and Swallowing Pills
One friend of mine said that when her mom taught her and her siblings how to swallow pills, she started them off by practicing with M&Ms cut in half. This made swallowing a pill easier and not so scary. Brilliant! If that doesn’t work and they just can’t seem to swallow the pill (and the pill is dry), you can crush it up and put it in some applesauce or pudding.
So when your child is sick and needs medicine, make sure you come prepared with some sort of strategy to make the entire situation for you and your little one more bearable and maybe even a little fun.
Do you have any SmartMom strategies when it comes to giving medicine to your kids? Share it with us in the comments section below (PLEASE)!
*For infants, use a medicine syringe, and squirt the medicine into the side of their cheek so they don’t gag on it.