Hacks to get your child to take her medicine

They say a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. But what if you’ve tried every tick the book and your tot still refuses to take her medicine?

Getting your tot to take medicine can be close to impossible. Many young children simply refuse to open wide! The good news is there are a few simple (and sneaky) ways you can get your toddler to take their medicine.  Follow these five tips:

1. Mix with other flavours

In babies, the mouth is more sensitive than the hands or fingers, and little ones tend to spit out strong, bitter flavours – especially medicines. If your child is particularly averse to strong tastes, it might be a good idea to disguise the medicine with a preferred, more subtle flavour. You can mix the meds into another sweet food type, such as yoghurt or even fruit juice.

2. Aim for the side of the cheek

Some parents swear by bypassing the tongue (and taste buds) as much as possible and using a syringe to squirt the medicine into the side of the cheek. This makes sense as taste buds are particularly sensitive to sour, bitter flavours.

3. Give your tot a choice

Certified parent educator and author Debbie Godfrey believes instead of getting into a power struggle with your kids, rather encourage independence and allow them to do as much for themselves as possible. In other words, give them a choice, while still guiding them to do what you need them to do. “Empower your child by giving him choices, not orders, and watch how quickly they respond positively,” she adds.

4. Trying using a syringe

This was by far the easiest and most popular way to give medicine – with many of you sharing how you still use a syringe with your older kids too.

5. Offer an incentive

Although rewards don’t always work long-term (as your child often starts to expect them more and more), using short-term rewards that work for you is a good strategy – especially when it comes to giving your child medicine. Along with the reward, offer plenty of praise.


I'm an experienced writer, sub-editor, and media & public relations specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the media industry – across digital, print, TV, and radio. I earned a diploma in Journalism and Print Media from leading institution, Damelin College, with distinctions (Journalism And Print Media, Media Studies, Technical English And Communications, South African Studies, African & International Studies, Technology in Journalism, Journalism II & Practical Journalism). I also hold a qualification in Investigative Journalism from Print Media SA, First Aid Training from St John’s Ambulance, as well as certificates in Learning to Write Marketing Copy, Planning a Career in User Experience, and Writing a Compelling Blog Post.
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