QUESTION: I find it difficult to give my child medicine, what tips do you have for this?


I remember being a child and having to drink that awful tasting medicine. Fear filled my chest and tears rolled down my face as that thick, chalky fluid took its sweet time sliding down my throat. Ensuring that it tightly hugged and coated every taste bud along the way. I cringe remembering that bitter cough syrup that went down fast but managed to overstay its welcome and acridly linger. Now, it’s time to facilitate that rite of passage to the next generation, our children. Below are a few of tips and tricks from our crew at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group to assist with easier administration for both parents and children.

-Mina Al-Shahed Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate 2018.

Ryan’s Tips

CEO at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy

Blessed with 2 boys, 7 and 3½ years old.

Babies are easy, simply point an oral syringe towards the back of the baby’s cheek (not the throat), and the medicine will go down. Blowing on their face will also force them to swallow.

However, it gets a little more difficult as they grow up. My 7-year-old was ill recently, and his antibiotic was not appetizing. We were both exhausted, and it was a battle getting him to take his medicine. This was not my proudest moment as a father but, I share this because it is natural for parents to be flawed at times. I apologized to my son the next day, he was understanding and we did not have any difficulties getting him to take his next dose because he understood that it was important.

Here are some more tips and tricks:

  1. Give them choices – It makes them feel like they have some control. For example, “would you like to take your medicine in a cup or with a syringe?”
  2. Let them do it themselves – By using an oral syringe they could draw the medicine up or inject it into their own mouths, with supervision of course.
  3. Reason with them – Telling them the importance of taking the medicine and tying it to a bigger picture.

Ryan has previously worked with children with autism which he feels helped him learn some additional techniques.

  1. Don’t mix it with their favorite things – It could avert them from eating food/drinks that they usually enjoy. For example, if they love strawberry yogurt, you may not want to mix their medicine with strawberry yogurt because they may associate it with the medicine forever.
  2. Mixing with food is risky – If they don’t eat the whole thing, they won’t be getting the whole dose. If you want to mix with food, try mixing little by little and confirm that your child will eat the entire dose.


Trina’s Tips

Technician at Kelley-Ross Long Term Care Pharmacy

Living the life after proudly raising a boy and a girl, 25 and 27 years old.

  1. What’s their flavor? – When her kids were little it was important to pick flavors that they liked.
  2. Transitioning to pills – Teaching them to swallow pills: Put the tablet towards the back of the throat, quickly follow with water. “It took a couple of tries but they got it down.”


Geoff’s Tips

Clinical Pharmacist at Kelley-Ross Long-Term Care Pharmacy

Reliving the teens with his boy and girl, 12 and 15 years old.

  1. Communicate – With liquid medications, he reasoned with his children by discussing the importance of the medication.
  2. Transitioning to pills – This was exciting for the whole family. The poor tasting liquid medicine motivated the kids to learn to swallow their pills.


Scott’s Tips

Chief Operating Officer at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group

Living a joyful life with 2 boys and a girl, 6, 8 and 9years old.

  1. Bribes – Bribing them can help, such as giving them some candy afterwards.
  2. Chase it down – Always have their favorite chaser ready, whether its juice, water, or another favorite beverage.
  3. Pharmacies can help – At Kelley-Ross Compounding Pharmacy, they can flavor the medications with whatever the child prefers. Scott states, “My kids tend to like cherry more than grape.”


Alen’s Tips

Pharmacy Manager at Kelley-Ross Long-Term Care Pharmacy

Proud father of 2 girls and a boy, 6-year-old, 3-year-old, and a 1 month old.

  1. Liquid vitamins – Try incorporating liquid vitamins at a young age. “I gave my kids yummy liquid vitamins since they were very little, now they’re more adapted to the idea of taking medicine.”
  2. Make the medicine taste better – Yummy medications are not a problem. Take advantage of pharmacies that will create delicious flavors.
  3. Try to use brand name medicine when possible – Brand names tend to taste better than generic.
  4. Infuse them – Mix with something thick and sweet, like juice or apple sauce. But be sure that they drink it all so that no medicine is lost.


Jason’s Tips

Clinical Pharmacist at Kelley-Ross Long-Term Care Pharmacy

A lucky man with 2 girls, 5 and 7 years old.

Jason states, “They just take it. They know that it is good for them.”

Disclosure: “They have not had to take anything awful tasting, yet.”