Trying to administer medicine to a child can often feel disastrous. Kids are notorious for giving pushback on taking medication, which happens for a variety of reasons. They don't like the taste, even if it's a cough medicine for kids. They struggle with swallowing pills. Or, they just plain don't want to. As a parent, you know your child needs the medicine to feel better but it's a challenge. Read on for 4 tips you can try the next time you need to give your kid medicine.
1. Be Honest
While it might be tempting to conceal medicine in a food or drink to get your child to consume medicine, it's not the best method. Aside from it not being recommended to take with a portion of food, it can create distrust, lead to food aversions, and only puts a band-aid on the challenge.
Instead, be upfront and honest about giving your kids medicine. Tell them why it's important for them to take it and what the results will be. For example, if it's a cough medicine for kids, you'll explain that the medicine will alleviate a sore throat. Tell them what they can expect when they take it such as how it feels in the mouth and what it will taste like. Making a conversation and learning moment out of taking the medicine can help put their fear at ease. Plus, being honest about medicine-taking helps them set up healthy habits and they won't struggle later in life.
2. Set the Tone
Children have the unique ability to be able to sense a parent's attitude. If you feel stressed, they will be able to tell and they will feel that, too. It takes a great test of patience when you know how your child tends to react to taking medicine. Try to set the tone as best you can. Stay positive and optimistic as you prepare their medicine. Praise them for how they do, even if they're just trying at first or taking sips of the couch medicine. For kids, positive reinforcement can help them feel confident so try to give them that praise.
3. Practice Taking Medicine
For some kids, there is a fear associated with taking medication. Some children struggle to swallow pills while others are weary of the taste or texture. To help alleviate their fear, practice taking the medicine with similar items that are safe.
Swallowing pills is a very common challenge for children and can take some practice to get used to. Small candies, such as Nerds, or sprinkles can be good practice tools for them to try. Work together to help calm the stress associated with it and provide tips to help them get used to it.
If your child is wearing of swallowing cough medicine for kids, try to find a similar flavored beverage they can practice drinking. You can show them that the flavors are similar. If you're using a cherry-flavored medicine, for example, show them the cherries on the bottle of each bottle so they can see they are similar.
4. Make it Fun
Take the stress out of administering medicine by adding some fun to it. If your child has a favorite spoon or cup, put the medicine on that for the child to take. Use a tea set and pretend to have a tea party while taking medicine. You can role-play with their favorite stuffed animal or toy before taking the medicine. You could pretend to play going to the doctor. There are tons of ways you can turn this mundane (and probably stressful) activity into something more fun.
Making this a fun activity is also a great way to bring a positive mindset to the experience. Often when we know something is going to be stressful, it triggers the next time we try to do it. By creating a fun experience with taking the medicine, you set yourself up to continue a more fun practice going forward which alleviates stress down the road.
No matter what you try, make sure you're correctly measuring out the dosage with the recommended measuring tool, which will typically come with cough medicine for kids. You want to ensure your child gets the full dosage required.
Even with these tips, getting your kid to take medicine can still feel stressful for you. It will require a lot of patience on your part as the parent, but when you bring a more positive attitude and are open to trying something new, you can create a better experience. The next time you need to administer cough medicine for kids, try out some of these tips and see how much better the outcome is.