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A Spoonful of Sugar

May 7, 2022   Return

“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” sang Mary Poppins as she tried to get the naughty Banks children to take their medicine. Well, you can put all that sugar away, as here are some tips to help you get your children to take their cough medicine without too much fuss.

Smile, it’s medicine time!

Look happy when you’re about to give your child cough medicine. Children are good at picking up negative tones or body language. So, project some positive vibes to your child!

Smile at your child, play with him and let him swallow the medicine willingly. Never force him to swallow because he will either spit it out or inhale it into his lungs. Both are not good and will worsen his cough.

Squirt it in!

Try using a syringe or dropper to help your child swallow the medicine without tasting it. Children have a problem swallowing medicines once they have tasted it. So, carefully push the syringe or dropper along your darling’s cheek to the back of his mouth. Squeeze the syringe or dropper slowly and the medicine will go down his throat!

Add flavours

Ask your child what his favourite flavour is and try adding it to the cough medicine. For example, if he likes orange juice, you can mix the cough medicine into some orange juice and let him drink it. When your child discovers the cough medicine comes in his favourite flavour, he will be more willing to swallow it.

Your child decides

Let your child have a say on how he wants to take his medicine – in a syringe or dropper, and the flavour he prefers. By letting him decide, he feels empowered to taking care of himself.

Serve it cold

Storing the cough medicine in the fridge may make it easier for your child to swallow. The taste of medicines tends to be better when chilled. Another method is to let your child suck on ice chips or even an ice popsicle before giving him the cough medicine. The ice will numb his tongue and taste buds so he won’t be able to taste the medicine so much and will find it easier to swallow.

It’s playtime!

Let your child pretend to be a doctor. Pretending to give his favourite toy the medicine will make it easier for him to take the medicine himself.

Tell the truth

Tell your child the truth. Explain to your child that the medicine will make him better but he may not like the taste. Reasoning with your child can make it easier for him to take the medicine. Never, ever refer to medicine as sweet. Children may accidentally swallow more than what they are supposed to and end up sick.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist

If all your attempts fail to get your child to take his medicine, check with your doctor or pharmacist for other options.

References: 1. Available at 2. WebMD. Available at

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