Skip to main content

How to get a toddler to take medicine (even if you’re not Mary Poppins)

A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down if you’re Mary Poppins, but if you’re not, you may need a bit of help getting your toddler to take medicine when sick. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than seeing your toddler under the weather, except for trying to get the medicine down a reluctant throat. While some over-the-counter remedies try their best to appeal to kids with flavors like bubblegum, grape, and various other fruits, that doesn’t always help.

You don’t have to be a magical singing nanny to get your toddler to take medicine. If you’ve struggled to get your toddler to take medicine there are a few tricks that other parents and experts have tried that may make your life a bit easier.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do you get a two-year-old to take medicine?

Every parent of a toddler knows that negotiating can be incredibly difficult, especially when your little one has her mind made up about something, so how do you get her to take her medicine if she’s decided she doesn’t want to? What to Expect suggests changing up the delivery, so instead of using a dropper, maybe try a small cup or a syringe. You can also administer the dosage over a period of a few minutes instead of all at once. Drinking a capful of medicine may seem to be a bit too much for some toddlers, so allow your child to take a little bit, maybe followed by a drink or something to eat, then give her a bit more until she’s received the full dosage. You can also let your child have a say in what flavor of medicine she wants (if that medicine comes in different varieties.) Your child may tolerate the grape flavor while the banana flavor can cause a revolt. Some pharmacies will actually add different flavors to their medicines so your child can pick a favorite.

How can I get my toddler to take medicine without spitting it out?

You may think that once you’ve actually convinced your toddler to open his mouth for his medicine that you’ve won the battle, but sometimes kids can decide the minute the meds hit their tongue that they want no part of it and proceed to spit it out. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing an entire dose of antibiotics or other prescription medicine because your child doesn’t like the taste, especially when you know that it’s exactly what he needs to make him feel better. Columbine Family Practice suggests a few tricks to help parents ensure their toddlers actually swallows their medicine. You can camouflage the medicine in food like applesauce or mix it with some juice, or use a dropper to aim the medicine as close to the back of the throat as possible. They also suggest asking your doctor for a different form of the medicine, such as a chewable tablet, if your child refused to take the liquid form.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

How can I trick my toddler into taking medicine?

Sometimes it’s necessary to trick toddlers into taking medicine because you know it’s for their own good. Mom Tanya Romo shared a video on Tik Tok showing her tricking her daughter into taking medicine by pretending to have her drink from a juice box. The video has been viewed almost four million times and has earned the praises of parents everywhere!


#babyhacks #fyp #babygirl

♬ Don’t be suspicious – io non so

As we noted above, sometimes you can mix your child’s medicine with food or drink to trick him into taking it. You should consult your pediatrician before doing so to ensure the medicine can be combined with food or drink, and you need to make sure your child finishes the entire portion so he’s getting the proper dosage of meds.

How do you force medicine down a child’s throat?

Parents never want to have to force their child to take medicine, but sometimes it’s a necessity if a sick toddler simply refuses. If your child won’t take her medicine you may need two adults to give it to her. Pediatric Associates recommends having one adult sit with the child, holding her arms, while the other adult uses a medicine dropper to administer the medicine. Always try to get the medicine as far back near their cheek as possible to ensure your child won’t spit it out. You may have to hold her mouth shut until she swallows. Always follow up with positive reinforcement, a hug, and maybe even a reward.

Giving toddlers medicine can truly be an unpleasant experience but hopefully, as they grow older they’ll realize that the medicine will make them feel better. Explaining to your child the reasons why the medicine is needed, as well as giving options in flavors and the method of administration, can all help make the process go more smoothly.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
How to avoid raising a spoiled child (and 3 warning signs to look out for)
What you need to know to keep your child from turning out rotten
A child and parent on the floor talking

We all say it to ourselves. We see a kid acting like a spoiled brat at the store and think there would be no way our kid would act like that. Well, it's easier said than done, but if you want to take up the challenge, there are ways to avoid raising a spoiled child and a few red flags to look out for. 

Now, we want to say there is a difference between a child being a child and a child being spoiled. Not helping to pay the bills doesn't make your child spoiled. Screaming in Target like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory because they want seven chocolate bars might. Here's how to keep your child from turning into a spoiled terror.

Read more
How long are car seats good for? Everything you need to know
This is how often you may need to replace car seats
Dad clicking sleeping baby boy into car seat

Everything is so expensive these days, and baby gear is certainly not cheap. A quality car seat is an essential part of your little one's safety. Since kiddos need a car seat for a while, most parents want a car seat that grows with their child.

So, if you're in the market for a car seat for your soon-to-be newborn or a sibling on the way, should you take a barely used car seat from a friend or reuse the one from your first child? The short answer is maybe. How long are car seats good for? Well, that depends, too, because car seats actually have an expiration date.

Read more
Why do toddlers cry in their sleep and how can you help them?
Learn the facts so everyone gets a good night's rest
A toddler sleeping in the bed.

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night to your toddler's cries, only to discover by the time you've run to check on them they are back asleep? If so, you're not alone. If your typical happy-go-lucky toddler is suddenly crying out in their sleep, it may make parents worried something may be wrong. As if toddler behavior isn't difficult enough to figure out when they're awake, parents need to know why toddlers cry in their sleep.

The good news is toddlers crying in their sleep is a normal part of their development and doesn't mean there's anything troubling your child you should be concerned about. In fact, this behavior has a variety of different causes. Learn some of the reasons why toddlers cry in their sleep and if there's anything to do to help prevent it, so everyone gets a good night's sleep.

Read more