How to Help Kids To Take Medication

How to Help Kids To Take Medication

Trying to get kids to take medication can be a daunting task for parents and caregivers. Whether it’s due to the taste, fear of needles, or a general aversion to taking medicine, ensuring children receive the necessary treatment they need can be a challenge. After having sick kiddos for three of the past four weeks, I want to share practical tips and strategies to help kids take their medication positively and cooperatively, ultimately promoting their health and well-being.

a woman talking to a little girl

Communicate and Explain

Start by having an open and honest conversation with your child about why they must take the medication. Use age-appropriate language to explain the purpose and benefits of the treatment. Address any concerns or fears and reassure them that the medication will make them feel better. Chulengo, our 6-year-old, has started to understand that medication can help him feel better. So it’s easier for us to administer medication. Bambino, our 3-year-old, is much different. He doesn’t understand that sometimes you have to endure something unpleasant to get better. I always explain that medication helps his ouchies, can make the pain go away, and help his body heal.

flavor options from flavorx
Photo is a screenshot from Flavorx website

Choose Child-Friendly Medications

Whenever possible, opt for child-friendly medications that come in appealing flavors. The taste of the medicine is probably the number one factor in whether kids will be compliant when taking medication. Consult with your pediatrician or pharmacist to explore available options. Selecting medications that taste better increases the likelihood of your child willingly taking them without resistance. FlavorX is available for Pharmacists to add to medication to modify the flavor without challenging the integrity of the medicine.

Important note:

Right now, in California, the use of flavoring by Pharmacists is being threatened. The California Board of Pharmacy is considering a proposal to keep more than 5,000 California pharmacies from being able to use products like FlavorX to change the flavor of medication. If you live in California, please support AB 782 by submitting a letter to committee members. A pre-written letter + additional bill info on the bill can be found here.

hand holding pills

Be a Role Model

Children often imitate their parents’ behavior. If you regularly take medication, let your child observe the process. Explain that medication is a normal part of staying healthy, and demonstrate your positive attitude. Seeing you take medication without hesitation can help alleviate their apprehensions. In the past, I have mimicked taking medication before giving Bambino his medicine. When he saw me take medication, he was on board to take his own.

star chart

Make it Fun

Transform the act of taking medication into a fun and engaging experience. Create a reward system where your child receives a small treat or sticker after taking their medication. My boys love when I offer them a 5-minute TV token each time they take their medication. It gives them extra screen time, which they love, but it also is a relaxing activity to help them recover. You can also use colorful medicine dispensers or syringes to make it visually appealing. Or turn it into a game by pretending the medicine is a superhero potion to help fight off the “bad germs.”

kid with glasses pointing at camera

Offer Choices and Empowerment

Give your child a sense of control by allowing them to choose certain aspects of the medication process. For example, let them select their liquid medicine’s flavor or decide whether to take it with water or juice. By involving them in decision-making, they will feel empowered and more likely to cooperate. Bambino thinks sitting in adult chairs at the dining table is fun. So, I let him sit in the adult dining chair to take his medication. It’s strange, but I can offer him this small option to get him to take his medication.

male high-fiving a kid

Use Positive Reinforcement

Praise and reward your child for taking their medication. Offer words of encouragement and acknowledge their bravery and cooperation. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and emphasize the importance of their commitment to their health.

pediatrician talking to mom and baby

Seek Professional Support

f your child consistently struggles with taking medication or has specific challenges, consider contacting a pediatrician, pharmacist, or child psychologist. These professionals can provide guidance tailored to your child’s needs and offer additional strategies to help overcome any obstacles. Once, our pediatrician gave Chulengo medication in capsule form instead of liquid form. I opened the capsule and poured the medicine into his yogurt.

Helping kids take medication can be a journey that requires patience, understanding, and creativity. Applying these tips can transform the experience into a positive and cooperative one, ensuring your child receives the necessary treatment for their well-being. Every child is unique, so adapt these strategies to suit your child’s personality and preferences. With your support and nurturing, you can empower your child to embrace medication as a crucial part of their journey to good health.

Protect The Right for Kids Take Flavored Medication

And most importantly, help California parents by supporting AB 782 by submitting a letter to committee members. A pre-written letter + additional bill info on the bill are in this link here. Let parents choose to have their child’s medication flavored to increase compliance and healthcare outcomes. We need your support to make it happen!

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