My three kids have taught me that every battle can be fought and won, and one such repetitive battle that I have become prone to winning is getting them to take their medications.
Every child is unique and may have different reasons for refusing or being unable to take medication. Whether it be their fear of choking on pills, disgust over its taste, or simply being stubborn, I’ve learned all the hacks to overcome such problems.
Read on to learn the most implementable hacks from a fellow well-experienced mama!
Provide Them With the ‘Whys’
The first step is the simplest! Launch the roots of reasoning within your child’s mind and watch as the cogs turn in their heads.
Give them a few moments to process why they must consume medications, and you may be surprised by how quickly they surrender to the pills and liquids once they truly understand their importance.
Of course, there is a proper way to go about this strategy. Make sure you communicate the effects of the illness they are suffering from and how complying with the treatment may aid them in feeling better.
If you cannot properly explain it to your child, involving a doctor is always a good idea!
Transform Medicines Into Treats!
You can always convert your child’s problems into pleasures. And to do so, the only formula that needs to be applied is ‘compounding’!
If your child does not approve of the taste of medications or finds the feel of the substance deterring, all you need is a visit to a pediatric compounding pharmacy!
This is where pharmacists incorporate joy into medicines through various processes. This can include recreating (or more like, compounding) the medicines in the child’s preferred form, such as gummies, liquids, pills, or powders.
Moreover, scowls can be transformed into smiles when pharmacists alter the taste of medications to be more appealing for children.
Pediatric compounding is more often than not found to be the ultimate solution since they cater to all the individual needs of children.
Play a Game of Hide & Seek!
A game of hide and seek ought to do the trick! Rule one: Your child must be unaware that they are seeking pills neatly hidden in the layers of their delicious food.
You may be tempted to crush tablets and open capsules to camouflage within food, but a study conducted by NCBI has shown that this can have dangers and uncertainties regarding safety.
Therefore, this strategy again calls for the aid of a pharmacist who will ensure that the medicine is compounded to be easily and appropriately merged with food.
Once you have the correct form of medicine, incorporate them into a tasty dose of chocolate syrup, applesauce, pudding, yogurt, or any other similar delight!
It is essential to consult a pharmacist before you implement this strategy. This is because certain medications are to be ‘time-released’ or can be dangerous when consumed in careless manners.
Furthermore, ensure that the medication is mixed within a small portion of food or drink to guarantee that it is completely consumed.
Tinker With Your Bud’s Taste Buds!
Science doesn’t disappoint- a little safe experiment carried out on the canvas of your child’s tongue is bound to result in them willingly taking their medicines.
These experiments are meant to ‘fool the tongue.’ Children often eagerly welcome them by feasting on cold treats like ice creams, ice cubes, and popsicles. Once they have done this, the taste buds at the front of the tongue will be numbed, and therefore the severity of the medicine’s taste will be lowered.
Similarly, you could allow your child to sip on cold beverages before and after they take medicine to dull their taste.
Tools to the Rescue!
Parents must have their fair share of handy tools ready and prepared to be drawn anytime!
These tools encompass anything, from pacifiers to droppers to syringes. Each tool has a hidden specialty that can be utilized in times of medical need.
A medical pacifier is easily available in most pharmacies, but always ask a medical professional to explain how it should be used.
Moreover, you can use droppers and syringes to release the medication near your child’s throat or lower cheek. This ensures that the medication avoids any contact with the tongue and therefore does not allow your child to experience the taste of it.
Regulate Emotions & Call for Some Medi-Fun Time!
Tantrums during medication time can often lead to parents’ frustration boiling over and ultimately fueling their child’s anxiety and fear.
A parent’s feelings can be contagious to their child, so it is essential to remain calm and radiate positivity during such situations instead of forcing your youngster to take the medicines, as this results in a loss of trust.
A particularly effective strategy is to incorporate some fun into stressful situations. This can be done by distracting your child with some playful scenarios and activities so they do not realize the true purpose behind the exercise. Such activities can include dancing, singing, or even playing ‘pretend cook’ with them sipping on their tea which, in fact, is just their medicine.
Present a Platter of Choices
Depending on your child’s age, allow them to have some control over the way they consume their medicines. Increasing your child’s autonomy may make them more willing to take the medicines because it will seem like a choice rather than an outright compulsion.
The following are some small decisions that they may be allowed to take:
- The tool used to aid in taking medicine, for example, choosing a syringe, dropper, or cup.
- The form of medicine, for example, choosing to take gummies, liquids, or pills.
- The time of day to take the medications. Of course, only as long as approved by a doctor or pharmacist.
- The flavor of the medicine.
Pill Swallowing: Practice Makes Perfect!
More often than not, pill swallowing does not come naturally to children, but it is nothing that cannot be taught! It has been observed that children as young as four years old have been taught to swallow pills.
The following is a list of the most prominent techniques to aid your child in learning how to swallow pills:
- Train your children to swallow smaller candy pieces similar to medical pills.
- Place the pill in their mouth and then have them drink water through a straw. They will most likely be hyper focused on the straw, leading to them unconsciously swallowing the pill.
- Get your child to have some bread or a cookie, and just before they swallow, place the pill in their mouth.
- Substitute water for thicker substances, such as juice or milk.
- A 2014 study suggests that it is easier to swallow pills by tilting your head slightly forward as your swallow the water and pill. In contrast, it is easier to swallow tablets by keeping your lips attached to a bottle as you suck water and swallow the tablet.
Rewards for the Successful!
Indulging in medication as prescribed can often make children feel accomplished; it is only fair that they are rewarded for this.
Therefore, be a supportive parent and sing praises and positive reinforcements when they succeed. However, if they struggle, remember to be reassuring and motivating.
You can also choose to give them small presents as an incentive afterward, such as lollipops or candy.
Understanding your child’s reasoning behind their resistance to their medicine is important. Only after you have flagged these reasons can you choose the appropriate strategy for them to adopt. Remember that every child has different requirements, and the strategies that have worked for my children may not work for yours- but it is always worth a try!
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