The following tips will help make it easier to give your child medicine.
Stay calm. This will help your child stay calm and make it easier to give the medicine.
Liquid medicines are usually the best choice for giving small doses of medicines to babies and young children.
If you choose to mix the medicine with milk or formula, only use a small amount (not a full bottle) to make sure your child swallows it all and gets a full dose.
Slowly squirt or pour the medicine into your child’s mouth, towards their cheek.
Let your child feel like they have some control. Give them choices. For example:
Be honest and understanding. Let them know that you know the medicine doesn’t taste good. For example, you can say, “I’m sorry it tastes bad.” See below for tips on how to make medicines taste better.
If your child won’t take the medicine because of the taste:
If your child won’t take their medicine, be gentle but firm and help them understand why it’s important. For example, you could say, “This medicine will help you feel better.”
Let your child know that you’re proud of them for taking their medicine without too much trouble. This will create a better experience and make it easier for you and your child the next time you have to give them medicine.
Try the following when giving liquid medicine to children:
When your child is learning to swallow pills, it may help to put the pill on the back on their tongue and have your child take a drink right away. Some children find it helps to use a straw so they concentrate on swallowing the drink iinstead of the medicine.
Ask your pharmacist what to do if your child throws up the medicine less than an hour after they take it. If they throw up an hour or more after taking the medicine, you don’t have to give another dose to make up for the one they threw up.
If your child has trouble swallowing pills, ask your pharmacist if the medicine comes in a liquid form or if the pill can be crushed (tablet) or opened (capsule) and mixed with a small amount of food. Don’t crush or open pills without talking to your pharmacist first.
Tips for mixing pills with food:
If your child won’t take their medicine because they say it tastes bad, try the following:
If you still find it hard to give your child medicines after trying these tips, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. They can help you make a plan so your child gets the medicines they need.
Current as of: February 18, 2021
Author: Medication Quality and Safety Team - Pharmacy Services, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.