How to get your toddler to take medicine

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When your toddler is sick, you want to do whatever you can to make her feel better — like giving her extra hugs and kisses, cuddling up with her in bed, or letting her watch her favorite video. But battling with her to try to get

her to take her medicine is probably not one of your favorite feel-better strategies. So what can you do when your hot-tempered tot refuses to take the medication you know she needs? While Mary Poppins may have resorted to a spoonful of sugar, you’d like to find another way to make the medicine go down. To the rescue, these tricky tactics for coaxing your stubborn toddler to take medicine:

Try a different delivery. Delivery can make all the difference. So if your toddler has already turned up her nose at the medicine spoon, try giving her the medication in a medicine dropper. You might also ask the pharmacist for a plastic syringe (sans the needle!) that squirts out liquid meds, or a small cup (make sure it offers exact measurements so you can dose properly) — or another measuring device you think your child might be willing to try. Any variation in your approach may distract her enough to get a dose in.

Break it up. Give your toddler small amounts of medicine over several minutes instead of all at once. It may be easier to swallow if she doesn’t have to down it all in one gulp. Of course, if your kid feels that this strategy is merely prolonging the agony, this option isn’t for you.

Hide it. Ask your doctor if it’s okay to sneak the particular medicine into foods or drinks. If you get the thumbs-up on that, stir the medicine into a small amount of applesauce, ice cream, or fruit juice. (Applesauce à la penicillin isn’t half bad.) But remember, if you do mix the meds into something else, your toddler needs to eat or drink the whole thing in order to get the full dosage.