How to Get Kids to Take Medication

OK. You have a diagnosis and the needed medication.  Now all you need to do is get your child to take it….

Every parent knows the struggle, and it’s real! Getting children to take medications can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. We are often asked for tips. I have even been known to ask my pediatrician friends for tips when I am on the other side.

So here are a few:

Give choices

  • Let them decide how they take it (cup, syringe, their favorite spoon, a “big kid” spoon).
  • Let them decide when they take it (before they get dressed or after).
  • Let them decide where they take it (in the kitchen, on the couch, etc.).

My girls love the little medicine cups. We also make a little game out of it by alternating big sips and little sips. This doesn’t work all the time, but is has helped with a few doses of antibiotics.

Add flavoring

Ask your pharmacist if any flavoring can be added to the medication. Some unfortunately cannot be flavored, but it never hurts to ask.

Mix it with something (aka a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down idea)

  • “Hide” the medication in a small amount of juice, applesauce, chocolate syrup, cherry flavored syrup, flavored yogurt, honey (if your child is over a year old), ice cream… basically whatever you think your child will take. Just make sure you check with either the pharmacist or your doctor if it is ok to mix the medication with certain foods.

Honey or a small amount of orange juice are my go to methods. Now that they are older, I ask if they would like the medication plain or in their juice. They can taste it so it makes my life a little easier to not hide it from them.


  • Start a sticker chart, with each dose taken, your child gets a sticker. A little positive reinforcement can sometimes make a big difference!

Stickers work for EVERYTHING in my house (so does a cookie!)

Be honest

  • If your child is old enough, tell him/her why they are taking the medication and why it is important.

My girls are at the age to appreciate this. The biggest threat is if you don’t take this you will need to see the doctor again!

Good luck and you are not alone!! We would love you hear your tricks…