Consider the following do's and don'ts.
1.) Do not attempt to force your child to swallow medicine. If you take that approach, the problem will only get worse, and it will continue to get worse as he or she grows older. Demanding obedience and exerting adult power in this situation will not work.
2.) Do ask your doctor to prescribe a chewable or liquid version of the medicine. Doctors don't always think of this, and you may have to ask and push him or her to find a medicine easier for the child to take.
3.) Do remember that the dislike of swallowing is more in the mind than in the body's ability to swallow. This child has swallowed bigger gulps of drink and food without realizing it. (However, simply telling her this won’t work.)
4.) Do nurture and be gentle in your approach to help the child understand the importance of the medicine. Emphasize health and safety. Gentleness on the part of the parent is key to making this be a more positive experience for all concerned.
5.) Do work together with your child to find a solution, and come up with creative ways to help him take the medicine: crushing the pills and adding them to applesauce or yogurt; swallowing them with a glass of a favorite juice or other drink; sticking the pill in the back of the throat (as far as possible) and drinking lots of water; or swishing the pill around in a mouth full of liquid and then swallowing it all at once. There is no one best way, just his way. Work cooperatively to help your child find his own best way.
6.) Do not sneak medicine into your child's food or drink. Hiding a
pill in peanut butter may work with your dog. Nix that idea for your child. Stay open about why she needs the medicine and the creative ways you will help her learn to take it.
7.) Do not attach consequences to the taking of medicine. Don't tell your child she will get ice cream if she takes her medicine, or he will lose TV if he doesn't. This is about health and safety, not bribery.
8.) Do focus on health and safety. We do lots of things to stay healthy. We limit sugar drinks and junk food. We limit television and video games. We get shots, go to the dentist, and exercise. We read books, brush our teeth, and get sufficient sleep. Taking medicine becomes one of the many things we do that we sometimes don't like to do. Help your child understand by telling him, "We are going to do this healthy thing and we will find ways to make it as easy as possible."
9.) Do tell your child, "I know that you don't like this medicine, and the doctor says you need to take it for now. You don't have to take it forever, only until we can get you healthy again."
Yes, it's tough on parents and children when kids don't want to take medicine. Hopefully, these ideas will help you keep moving forward with gentleness and love as you help your child through this difficult time.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free Uncommon Parenting blog. To obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today: www.uncommon-parenting.com.