Getting Your Toddler to Take Medicine


toddler crying and refusing to take medicine

My sister loved Dimetapp as a kid. There’s an old family story about how she once helped herself to the bottle (but was totally fine, not to worry!). Initially, our twin toddlers were also fine with taking medicine— Tylenol and Motrin from the syringe. But more recently, it’s been a battle of epic proportions. On top of that, they both developed ear infections which meant the addition of some delicious bubblegum amoxicillin. 

Attempting to force-feed meds to toddlers upwards of six times a day is a nightmare. There was hitting, pushing, spitting, gagging, crying, and just a huge mess. Desperate for a better way, I rallied all my mom friends to give me their best tips. 

What Worked for Us

Ice cream* 

Let’s be honest, when my kids are sick I throw out all the rules. It’s snacks all day on the couch, endless TV, and whatever food seems to make them the happiest. For one of my twins, making a tiny milkshake with the amoxicillin seemed to work. She chugged it down and was none the wiser. (Sadly, this did NOT work for the other twin.)


The other twin loves smoothies but was suspicious of the new cup I pulled out for the milkshake. Instead, I added the meds to a tiny bit of smoothie and put it in his regular smoothie pouch. Success! 

*Just know that if you’re mixing it with something, you really need to monitor them and make sure they consume it ALL to get the required dose.

Melt-a-ways / Chewable Tablets

We got the okay from our pediatrician to try giving the chewable tabs for Tylenol and Motrin. These have been a dream for the milkshake twin but not the other one. 

Other Ideas

  • Let them drink it out of a tiny cup
  • Give them a special cup or straw
  • Let them do the syringe themselves
  • Mix it with a tiny bit of juice
  • Mix it with a tiny bit of honey (good for coughs! double duty!)
  • Mix it with pudding
  • Mix it with applesauce
  • Give it in the bathtub when they are distracted

What’s worked for you to get your toddlers to take medicine? 


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