how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses
Toddler Toddler Safety

How To Give Medicine To A Toddler Who Refuses – 3 Smart Tricks

Learning how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses it can be hard work. We have all been there before when we have tried every tactic in the book to get “cough syrup” down but to no avail.

It can sometimes feel like you are fighting an uphill battle, but rest assure we’ve done all the research and can reveal the 9 best ways to learn how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses.

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Many parents who look for toddler medicine hacks usually ask these types of questions:

  • How to get toddler to take medicine without spitting it out?
  • How to give medicine to baby who refuses?
  • What are the toddler medicine hacks?

The dilemma that most parents face is that what works for one toddler doesn’t always work for another. Worst still what do you do if you have no choice but to force-feed a medicine to your toddler who is sick only for them to spit it out?

It’s a lose-lose situation, but let’s reveal the 9 most effective ways to overcome when a toddler spits out medicine and learn how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses.

How To Give Medicine To A Toddler Who Refuses

These smart hacks will help you learn how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses and how to give medicine to baby who refuses. The skill is in disguising the medicine or skilfully placing it in their mouth.

Here are 6 Effective Strategies to learn how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses.

1. Deliver is KEY

The way you give the medicine to your toddler can make all the difference.

Most toddlers don’t like the look or the smell of most medicines. If you can think back to what your parents forced you to take when you were younger it’s not difficult to see why they feel that way!

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First of, instead of using a spoon you can use a medicine dropper or a syringe. This will change the appearance and make it look a bit more advertising. Even if it only works a few times it’s still worth a shot!

Secondly, when you use dropper or syringe try to aim for the back of your toddler’s mouth. In this way, they won’t taste as much of the medicine and even if they start to choke a little bit will probably swallow the medicine as opposed to spitting it out as it is quite far down there throat already!

2. Break it up

Simple but effective. Sometimes toddlers can gag on a huge mouthful of medicine, as it’s too bitter to thick. Instead, try to break it up into smaller doses and administer it over shorter time frames.

3. Honest is KEY

Resist the temptation to refer to your medicine as candy or persuade your toddler that it will taste nice when it won’t. Instead, go the opposite way and tell them exactly what it will do.

As your child gets older, usually around the 3-year-old mark, you can begin explaining that medicine will make you feel better and will make the hurt go away.

Remember if you refer to medicine as candy or something sweet, then you may be enabling them to try to find it when you are not around to taste or worse still overdose on.

4. Don’t react

Your toddler copies everything that you do and if you react badly to them taking the medicine or signal to your toddler that medicine is linked to disgust then they will do the same.

Instead, act normal, and try and be as happy and cheerful as possible. This can be difficult if your toddler is repeated rejecting the medicine and it’s urgent.

Instead, try to change the subject and then come back to taking medicine in a few minutes once everything has cooled down.

5. Talk about it

Try to talk about medicine and doctors with your child more often. This can have a remarkable positive effect on how easy they respond to any extra special care and attention you need to give them.

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If your toddler understands what is happening then they are less likely to kick up a fuss. You can even turn it into a fun (supervised of course) game so that they look forward to taking medicine or vitamins once per day.

Small things like playing make-believe and having them play the “taking medicine game” with their own special jar will work well.

6. Self-empowerment

If you can give your toddler choice then do it! Toddlers love the power to choose things themselves. For example, you can ask your toddler to take their medicine in a dropper or in a cup.

If they feel like it is their decision then they are more likely to comply and consume the entire portion without much fuss.

Now let’s look at how to get toddler to take medicine without spitting it out tips and tricks.

How To Give Medicine To A Toddler Who Refuses: Alternative methods

Dosage cups

These are for kids who can drink from a cup without spilling it and you can pour the exact amount f medicine into the cup

Dosing spoons

These look a little funny and resemble a test tube of some sort but with a spoon dangling on the end. These will work well for a toddler that knows how to drink from a cup unassisted but still spills it.

Droppers  

These are for young children that are not yet able to drink from a cup at all.

Syringes  

These allow you to insert medicine to the back of a toddler or a very young baby’s mouth. This will usually mean that it won’t spill and your child will swallow more.

How To Get Toddler To Take Medicine Without Spitting It Out

1. Choose aim and fire!

Your taste buds are primarily located at the front and centre of your tongue so try and go around those primary taste buds to the back and side of the tongue.

One of the smart toddler medicine hacks is to drop the medicine at the back of the mouth and try to aim for inside the cheek. In that way, the solution will just glide down the throat and then work it’s magic!

2. Offer a reward

Don’t go overboard here, but a little treat will go along way. This is true if the medicine is time-sensitive and needs to be taken fast. Use something fun or a reward that is extra special (adding stickers to a reward chart) and you’ll be surprised at how easy it can make a difference.

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3. As cool as ice

For very sensitive toddlers who really hate the taste of medicine, you can try this cool trick. Let them suck on an ice-lolly or some ice a few minutes before you give them their medicine. This will help to numb their taste buds and will cause them to taste less of any medications that are very bitter.

Alternatively, you could keep the medication in the fridge for longer to keep it cooler. This could help mask the taste for your little one as it will be much cooler in the tongue.

4. Hide it away

Duble check with your doctor if it is ok to hide the prescribed medicine into some food or drinks. More often then not you’ll be able to do this and it makes your life MUCH easier!

Good examples can be fruit juice or a small amount of apple sauce.

Remember though for the medication to have the desired effect your toddler will need to eat the entire portion. So don’t make the mistake of adding it to large food or drink portion. 

5. Disguise the taste

Some pharmaceutical companies and bigger brands have flavours that you can add to the medicine to disguise the taste. These options are watermelon, banana or grape. Ask at your local store for availability. 

Toddler Medicine Hacks

  • Never force a child that cannot or will not take medicine as it can cause them to vomit
  • Always seek out an alternative technique if one does not seem to be working
  • Try to check with your doctor if they have any alternatives from specific problematic medications.
  • Use a syringe or dropper as they are more likely to work to administer more of the stated dose
  • Try not to rush it. Don’t’ squirt the medication into the back of the mouth as it can cause choking. Faster doesn’t always guarantee all the medicine will be accepted. It’s better to go slow and confirm that each dose has been correctly taken.

Learning how to give medicine to a toddler who refuses is more of an art than a skill. You have to understand your child’s’ temperament and what works for them.

Try to test out a few strategies above and see which one works for you.

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

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