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How to trick your toddler into taking medicine

Whether it is antibiotics or children’s pain reliever, it seems like your youngster hits the door running as soon as he sees you pull out the spoon. Resorting to force-feeding your child medication only to have him spit it out on your shirt isn’t the only option. From masking the meds in food to dividing up doses over a few minutes’ time, discover fuss-free tips on how to trick your toddler into taking medicine.

Bribe him with a treat

Every good parent knows bribing your kiddos is OK, especially when it is for his own good. Offer him a sweet treat, prize or privilege such as hitting the park if he takes his medicine without a fight.

Hide your true feelings

Making faces or comments that the medicine is yucky will automatically put your toddler on the defensive, so don’t set yourself up for a fight. When it’s time for him to take his medication, mask your feelings and offer lots of praise when the deed is done.

Use a different doser

Toddlers can be easy people to please, so try changing up your delivery for a fuss-free dose of medication. When your youngster rejects his antibiotics in a dropper, offer it in dosage cup. Or, try changing your airplane sounds for a fun choo choo train. The change may be all he needs.

Mask it in food or drinks

What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, especially when it has to do with getting him to take his medication and get on the path to recovery. Add the prescribed amount of medicine to a small amount of juice, yogurt or even peanut butter to mask the flavor. Just remember that he needs to finish the entire amount to get the full dose.

Give him a say in flavors

Sometimes, refusing to take medicine is an issue of control for toddlers, so let him pick which flavor the pharmacist will add to the medication. And, for instances when your child has to take another round of prescriptions such as antibiotics, change up the flavor to lessen the chance he’ll resist taking medicine again.

Talk up the benefits

Although this trick for getting your kiddo to take medicine will only work with the most reasonable kids, it’s worth a shot to shed light on the benefits of the medication he’s taking. When you explain that the only way he’ll get better is if he takes the medicine his pediatrician has prescribed, the less likely it may seem like it’s you against him.

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Divide up the doses

Sometimes, a mouthful of medication is recipe for gagging, so let your toddler know he can take his medicine a few drops at a time. “I tell parents that I am interested in the medication getting in and staying in. Don’t try to force down medicine or it will come right back up or be sprayed in the parent’s face,” warns Dr. Sean Diamond, MD, pediatrician at Loyola University Health System. “If it takes 5, 10,  20 or 30 minutes to coax down the whole dose, it usually doesn’t make a difference with most medications.”

When it comes time to take medicine, try not to engage in a struggle — or else taking over-the-counter drugs or antibiotics can foster a negative connotation every time. Although it may be tough to convince your child the topic is not a free pass to argue, learning how to trick your toddler into taking medicine may cut down on the tears — both yours and his — so your little one can be on the mend sooner!

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