ideas/tricks to getting a 3 year old to take medicine orally

Jennifer - posted on 07/23/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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i have a 3 year old that was just diagnosed with esophogitis ( an inflammed esophagus) and acid reflux. it is very important to his health that he take medicine orally and i can not seem to get him to take it. does any one have any ideas or tricks that might help. i've tried bribery and mixing it in food/drink and nothing has worked. we just spent a week in the hospital and i would hate to end up back there again over this.

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Sally - posted on 07/23/2009

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Good luck. This can be a real problem if it goes on. I guess you've tried getting the pharmacy to add a flavor to his meds? I know Walgreens will do this. If it really tastes good they usually will take it. I'm sure part of it is that he's experiencing pain with certain foods and at 3 doesn''t really know how to explain that to you. Are there any foods or flavors that he really likes and enjoys? does he like creamy textured things like milk, pudding, yogurt? talk with your pharmacist and the doctor to see if you can find something that has a flavor and texture he likes.



acid reflux can be very painful. Does your son eat in a hurry or try to stuff his mouth with more than he can comfortably chew and swallor? I worked for years in early childhood ed and dealt mostly with 2 and 3 yr olds. There was one little boy who would stuff his mouth with food like he couldn't get it in fast enough. Then he'd gag on it and throw up. That's when he had the big reflux problem because stomach acid would come up with the food he couldn't swallow. In talking with his parents, we came up with a plan to give him only small bites of food, one at a time so he couldn't stuff himself. That alone helped his reflux problem tremendously until he outgrew it. Most kids will outgrow this condition.



Again, good luck. Don't get upset or try to force the medicine as that will only cause him to get upset and produce more stomach acid.

User - posted on 07/23/2009

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At 3 kids are pretty clued up be firm tell him he needs to take this medicine and why tell him if he tips his head back and doesn't let it sit on his tongue then it wont taste as bad and always have a glass of water or juice for him to have straight after. Make up a star chart and get him to place a star on it each time he takes it without fuss then when he has however many stars he can have a treat, extra story at bed time, trip to the park, ice cream for desert or whatever.

Leah - posted on 07/23/2009

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have you tried mixing it in with his favorite food without telling him. Maybe if he knows it isnt there he will take it with no problem!

JL - posted on 07/23/2009

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Do you use a syringe to admister the meds because if you do I found put a way with my son who was also awful about taking his meds. We would first put water or juice in the syringe and we would all sit on the floor taking turns taking the medicine. We would keep the game going until my son would join along and then at some point we would switch out and give him a syringe with the meds in it and he would take it down no problem. After a couple of months of doing this he no longer associates the meds with the frustration of us trying to force him to take nasty tasting stuff..now he associates it with the game we played. We are now at the point that he just comes up to us and takes it with no issues and without us having to play the game. Believe me before this it was a wrestling match with him and we had tried all the other things like mixing it in a favorite drink or food.

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Fatna - posted on 01/26/2013

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i am still struggling with syrop, but no seryngue. i tried to froce him but he throu up everything.plus the fever wont go down, and he didnt drink that much

Sally - posted on 07/23/2009

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DO NOT give something like chocolate syrup as a reward for this problem! It will irritate his esophagus even more. Actually, once he finds that his pain stops when he takes his meds your problem will be solved. I have a reflux problem myself. I KNOW how painful it is! So does your son but at 3 he may not be able to equate his pain with what he eats. Watch and see what he willingly eats and notice the flavor and texture. Match that and you will have the problem half solved. Also, ask you pediatrician if it is alright to give him an antacid like Tums or Rolaids BEFORE giving him his Rx meds. The Antacid can be chewed and may relieve his pain enough that he won't fight the meds as much. Once he gets used to not hurting...heartburn and/or stomach pain...you should have no more problems.

Gena - posted on 07/23/2009

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I found that with my son, giving him his meds. in cold applesauce or even chocolate milk worked a lot better than the flavored meds. Chocolate pudding also worked. I hated forcing meds., but it beat having to go back to the doctor. I also let him mark off on the calendar each day until meds. were done and he got a small toy. (sometimes you do what you have to, so they get better) Hope things work out for you.

Kate CP - posted on 07/23/2009

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Reward him with a spoon full of chocolate syrup after he takes the medicine. It covers up any medicine taste and it's a great, easy reward for cooperating. I had to give my daughter antibiotics for quite a while and the only way to get her to take her medicine without having to sit on her was to give her chocolate syrup after she took her meds. Worked (just about) every time. There were a few meds that were just too awful to take willingly. The problem with mixing medicine with drinks or food is that you have to make sure they ingest ABSOLUTELY ALL OF IT in order for the medicine to even be effective. Even then you have to be careful about diluting the medicine too much. Good luck!

Janet - posted on 07/23/2009

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What kind of foods have you tried. I found applesause worked great. But don't trick him. It is important that he learns that taking his medication will make him feel better.

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My son was the same way, he is 2.8 yrs old and I decided to let him give it to himself. I put the meds in the syringe, hand it to him and he loves pushing the trigger in as we make noises doing it! Works every time. Good luck

Marta - posted on 07/23/2009

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I know that some pharmacies in Calgary, AB, Canada will add flavouring to medicine that is prescribed for children. It's probably the taste that bothers him so if you can get the pharmacist to mix in some berry flavouring and lie to your son tell him that it's special syrup (I've done this before...you'll feel bad for lieing but it's a necessary evil). Measure it out with the medicine dropper but give it to him on a spoon. It might also be that it causes and uncomfortable feeling going down, in which case you may just have to hold his head back and force it down his throat or ask the doctor for a pill form (3 is old enough to take a pill if needed) then you tell him it's candy that'll make him feel better.

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