4 year old refusing to take medicine

  • Print

One parent shares a recent experience of her four year old child refusing to take his medicine and the tricks to help them take it! 

thermometer-833085 640

Important Message from Park Slope Parents (PSP): Just a reminder, PSP member posts are not checked for accuracy. The content is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. www.parkslopeparents.com is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on the PSP groups or on the www.parkslopeparents.com website.


As a PSP member writes...

My son recently got strep and needed antibiotics for the first time. Wow! Our little boy put up the fight of his life when it came time to take them. We tried everything: got it flavored at KidsRx, mixed it with ice cream, chocolate pudding, tried letting him do it himself, tried doing it slowly, doing it fast, with a straw, out of a special bowl, offering candy afterward, holding his nose so he couldn't taste it as much. We tried physically forcing him to take it, which mostly ended up with medicine dribbling down his chins, and once in him throwing up all we had managed to get down in the 45 minutes prior. I tried a touch of the medicine and it didn't even taste that bad...I know it is a control issue, but I do not know what to do about it. We ended up having to get him 2 injections in his legs and it was AWFUL. (And then he refused to take ibuprofen to dull the pain!) I very much do not want to have to go that route the next time. Anyone have any tips?

Ideas include:

1. Mix it with Hershey's chocolate syrup (seems to mask the taste better than ice cream or pudding).

2. Reward/sticker charts (which have never worked with our son, but others have had success with them.)

3. Get the antibiotics in pill form, then chop the pills into very small pieces and put it in delicious and crunchy food.

4. One parent had their kid's teacher give them the medicine--the power struggle with parents didn't come into play as much. Someone else suggested we just hope he doesn't need more meds before reaching a more reasonable developmental stage.

5. Another parent shared "one thing that finally worked was grape juice. Undiluted, syrup sweet grape juice (we used Kedem, I think). The taste was sweet & strong enough to cover her medicine.  Other mixes suggested by friends/pharmacists were ice cream, milk shakes, chocolate syrup and (oddly) cherry syrup - like the kind found in cherry pie filling (not maraschino cherries). That one came direct from a seasoned pharmacist."

Related Reading on PSP:

How to Give a Baby Medicine


Please make sure you read Park Slope Parent's Disclaimer HERE