How to Get a Toddler to Take Medicine
One of the most challenging experiences for a caregiver is getting a toddler to take medicine. From the unpleasant taste to the fear of being forced to take it, toddlers can be quite resistant. However, medication is essential for their health and well-being. This article aims to provide caregivers with helpful tips and techniques for overcoming this challenge and ensuring toddlers take their medicine.
Create a Fun and Engaging Routine
Setting up a routine around taking medicine can help reduce anxiety and establish a reliable procedure for medicine time. This routine can include fun and engaging activities to make it a positive experience for the child. One approach is to use a special spoon with a cartoon design or character. The child can also pretend to be a doctor and give themselves or their parent a spoonful of medicine. After taking the medication, the child can do a little dance or clap hands. These small activities can make a big difference in making taking medicine a more positive experience for a toddler.
Use a Syringe or Dropper
Using a syringe or dropper can make it easier to administer medicine and control the amount of medication given. It can be especially useful when the child is feeling unwell or not in a good mood. To use a syringe or dropper, make sure the child is in an upright position, tilt the head slightly backward, place the syringe or dropper at the edge of the mouth, and slowly administer the medicine. To avoid gagging, give the medication in small amounts and allow the child to swallow before giving more medication.
Offer a Reward
A reward system can be a great motivator for a toddler to take their medicine. It can be as simple as giving them a sticker or extra cuddle time. Age-appropriate treats such as a small piece of candy or fruity snack can also be effective. Make sure the child knows the reward is for taking the medication or completing the routine, not for anything else. This positive reinforcement can encourage them to continue taking their medication.
Mix Medication with Food or Drinks
Medication can have an unpleasant taste or texture, which can be challenging for toddlers to swallow. Mixing medication with a favorite food or drink can make it more palatable. Yoghurt, apple sauce, or juice can help disguise the taste of the medication. However, do consult the child’s healthcare provider before mixing the medicines as it may not be safe to do so with certain medications.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is essential in encouraging toddlers to take medication. Make sure to praise them for taking medicine when it’s due or staying on schedule with the routine. Reward them with a small treat or toy, or extra story-time session. Celebrate the milestones, such as the first dose, first week of adhering to the schedule, and other achievements. Positive reinforcement helps to create a positive outlook on taking medicine and reduces anxiety and stress.
Each child is different, and it’s essential to experiment with different approaches to determine what works for them. Letting them choose a flavor of medication, using a favorite toy as a prop, or making up a story about taking medicine can help encourage their participation in taking care of their health.
Giving medication to a toddler can be a daunting challenge, but with patience and persistence, caregivers can create a positive experience and ensure medication is taken as prescribed. Creating a fun and engaging routine, using a syringe or dropper, offering a reward, mixing medication with food or drink, leveraging positive reinforcement, and getting creative with different approaches can all make a significant difference in how well toddlers take medicine. Remember always to consult the healthcare provider on any queries or concerns about administering medication to children.