There is nothing harder than wrestling with a toddler while trying to give medicine. I’ve tried everything! Of my three children, Ken was the worst. He would squirm and toss his head. He could get out of any hold I had on him. I quickly learned that distraction was the best policy. Having 8 children at a time in my home daycare during cold season provided many chances to practice giving medicine to toddlers. Distraction seemed to work the best. Here’s a few tips you might try.
1. If the medicine can be taken with food, feed your child crackers or part of his meal to make him thirsty, then offer the medicine mixed with a small amount of something to drink. You could also try mixing the medicine into spoonfuls of food. I suggest that you mix up the flavors or even try using something that isn’t a part of your regular diet. If the medicine taste overpowers the food or drink, your child may refuse that item when he’s well.
2. If he’s especially squirmy, give liquid medicine to your child in the tub. He’ll be more relaxed and you can easily wash away the dribbles.
3. Have your child suck on a Popsicle first. The cold will dull the taste of the medicine. Sometimes we froze the medicine into a fruit cube of ice or made it a small Popsicle.
4. Try a spoonful of maple syrup or honey before giving him medicine.
5. Act matter-of-fact about giving your child medicine. Don’t give subtle clues that you expect him to dislike or reject the medicine. Place it in his mouth and change the subject.
6. Find a fun special loopy straw that’s designated as the “medicine” straw. Sipping medicine through this may be enough distraction to help it go down easily.
7. Serve it in a clean teacup from a play set. Girls will especially love playing tea time first and during.
8. Make it an event, with applause and lots of laughing.
9. Make it a fun game. “Take this and mommy will do this.” Something like dance around the room, put pudding on your nose, paint your fingernails blue or stand on your head (if that’s still possible).
I would love to hear your ideas. What do you do when your child is grumpy, sick and uncooperative about medicine?