Kids of all ages might resist taking prescribed drugs or supplements. It can take cajoling and imagination, but when your child needs them, it is important to make the effort. Try adapting these ideas for your own situation and see what works best for you. Be prepared to be persistent!
Difficulty with swallowing
- Find out whether the item is available in a liquid, sublingual (placed under the tongue), or powder.
- Crush or chop the tablet or pill—or empty the capsule, if needed. Check first to make sure this is okay to do; some items need to be taken whole.
- Mix capsule contents or crushed tablet with a few tablespoons of applesauce, pudding, yogurt, mashed potato or banana, or frozen raspberry juice concentrate, etc. You might want to use a small portion of natural fruit sorbet or dairy/nondairy ice cream.
- The key for #3 is to use a small amount. If the serving is too large, it might not be completely eaten.
- Encourage the child to swallow quickly and avoid chewing.
- Blend nutrients into a small smoothie, but only when nutrients are not strongly flavored.
- Mix powders with a little sugar (if tolerated), stevia, honey, agave, or dry natural fruit-drink powder. Place on a bit of bread and fold over. After this is eaten, follow with liquid.
- Try putting the item in the child’s mouth, have him or her take a sip of liquid then drop head down before swallowing. It seems it wouldn’t help—but it often can!
- Use a straw instead of taking a sip of water from a glass. Put the item in the child’s mouth, then have him or her drink from the straw. This can help in the swallowing process.
Getting liquids down the hatch
- If using a dropper, place liquid on the side of the tongue, partway back. If in center it can cause gagging.
- Use an oral syringe (with no needle, of course), and squirt near the back of the tongue, on the side.
- Chill liquid supplements; cold helps dull the taste.
- Use a behavior incentive chart with a small reward to encourage regular compliance.
- If serious swallowing problem continues, seek professional advice.