5 clever ways to get kids to take medication
Getting your child to take medication can be a difficult task alone. Add into the mix a tired and sick child, sore throats, a dislike to the taste of medicine, or simply a hot-tempered toddler – and for some parents, this can become the most challenging time of the day – for you and your child.
At TerryWhite Chemmart we are here to help. We’ve prepared some pharmacist-endorsed tips that may aid your technique, and assist in improving your child’s resistance and mindset to taking medication:
1. Positive attitude
be honest and speak openly with your child about taking medicine and why it is important. Children can sense your emotions, so remaining calm, encouraging and reasonable may see your child more likely to cooperate. Be sure to follow with words of affirmation and plenty of hugs.
2. Let them choose
Relinquishing a small amount of control may encourage your child to look forward to the role they play in taking their own medicine. Ideas might including giving your child the choice of what flavour of medicine they would like, or allowing them to choose how they want to take their medicine – in a dropper or a cup.
3. Syringe or dropper
Try using a syringe (without a needle of course) and squirting it to the back of the mouth on one side to help it go down fast before the tastebuds have a chance to register, and to help avoid the gag reflex.
4. Reward program
Just like most of us love rewards programs, older kids may respond well to a reward system such as a sticker or stamp on a chart each time they take their medicine well. You could build on this by rewarding consistently agreeable behaviour with a larger reward the child is aiming for at the end of a set time. For example, 10 stickers on a chart might equal a new book or toy your child is rewarded with.
An extra pair of gentle hands can sometimes be needed in keeping a child in a safe and still position while medication is administered. Positive reinforcement, a calm manner, and verbal praise should always come before and after, in an effort to support your child through this process, and normalise it.
When dealing with children’s pain, it’s important to understand that using medicine safely means knowing what you are giving your little one, and how much to give. It’s also helpful to be aware that managing pain can be enhanced with a number of non-medicinal strategies (ie. Reading, singing, screen time on a phone or tablet, or stroking) that may be used alongside pain relief medications, based on the needs of your child. With patience and practice, the tips covered here may assist in making ‘medicine o-clock’ a more pleasant (and dare we say … maybe even anticipated) time of the day with your child.
At Terrywhite Chemmart, our pharmacists are trained in managing children’s pain and are here to offer holistic help and support for the whole family. Contact your local Terrywhite Chemmart pharmacist to find out the pain solution that may be right for your child.
General advice only – this information should not replace the information provided to you by your health care professional. If symptoms are severe or persist, please speak to your health care professional. Information current as of date of publishing.
Always check with your pharmacist or medical professional before starting any new medications or supplements, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking any medications currently, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or researching therapies suitable for infants or children.