Many of us can probably remember one of the tracks from the legendary Mary Poppins movie which says: ‘Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down…’ Don’t we all wish that getting our children to keep the medicine down was that simple in the real world!

Still, though it may not be that easy, it doesn’t have to be as hard as many moms have it.

Hence, here are facts and tips that will help…

Possible reasons children resist taking medicine

Rather than just hammering down your child, trying to get him to take his medicine, it is important to first and foremost understand the reasons behind any adamant behaviour. Doing this will help you deal with the matter in a more effective way that guarantees a win-win situation for you both. So, here are possible reasons why you often meet with resistance whenever the medicine is brought out of the cupboard…

  • Your child may be dreading the unpleasant taste of the medicine
  • The medicine may be making your child feel sick to the tummy
  • The medicine may be leaving behind some very uncomfortable and irritating side effects
  • Your child may be scared of throwing up
  • Your child may be yet to get over a previous bad experience
  • Your child may be seeking extra attention from mommy
  • Your child could be having extra difficulty taking and keeping the medicine down (especially if it is a tablet or capsule for older children)
  • Your child may feel pressurized into taking the medicine and hence, want to exert some control
  • Your child may feel out of control when sick. Hence, ‘medicine taking’ is one of the few things he feels he can control
  • Just like most children, your child may not understand the importance of taking the medicine

Some ground rules…

Before proceeding to give your child the medicine, understand that there must be NO…

  • Power struggles between you and your child. You must wear the pants in this situation. However understand that being firm does not mean scaring your child with threats and punishments. Be firm, but don’t be insensitive to his genuine fears and concerns
  • Bribes. When old enough, help your child understand that medicine must be taken to get better and not to grab rewards like candies, more play time, etc
  • Skipping of doses. Doing so may be harmful to the health of your child because some medications come with terrible side effects if its recommended dosage is not completed
  • Hiding of medicine in food or pretending that the medicine is sweet. If you trick your child into taking the medicine or believing something false about it, you are likely to face a higher level of resistance next time
  • Making your child feel like he failed if he is unable to keep the medicine down. You must be patient with him and offer loads of encouragement until he gets it right
  • Setting of limits which are not going to be followed through. If you do this, your child will not take you seriously next time
  • Offering of more support than is necessary. Find the right balance between firmness and patience

(To be continued)