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How to Get Your Child to Take Medicine - helloHOPENothing can bring a grown adult to their knees quite like a toddler who stubbornly refuses to eat their food. Or worse? Take their medicine. Maybe you can relate. 

If you’ve read our story, then you know this started when our oldest daughter began showing signs of an underlying illness just after her first birthday. None of her symptoms were “textbook,” and it took seven months of tests and specialists visits before she was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

One of the primary ways that EoE is treated is with a liquid medication that is mixed with a thickener and then swallowed. This treatment plan was expected to bring relief from her symptoms and meant that Audra would be taking medication twice a day for years to come. There was one catch, though.

Her doctor warned us that the medicine tasted awful. When even the doctor gives you a heads up about bad tasting medicine, you know it’s going to be rough. To be fair, he gave us some ideas of different things to mix into the medication to help with the taste.

But none of them worked.

Etched in my brain is the memory of when we first started giving Audra this medication on a daily basis. She was a toddler at the time, and the process involved us trying everything we could to get her to swallow it.

Both Andrew and I would attempt to lovingly convince her of how good this would be when it was over if she did it fast! We tried distractions. We tried bribes. We tried it all. And ultimately, each time ended with us having to work together to hold her crying, kicking self still to give her the medicine and keep it in her mouth. We were all a mess afterwards, and we wondered if she was even swallowing enough to be effective.

After several days of this, I finally called the nurse for help, and our conversation over the phone that afternoon changed everything:

“Have you tried mixing the medicine with Hershey’s chocolate syrup?”
“No…”
“Oh, yeah, just mix the medicine with a teaspoon of Hershey’s syrup. Try it, and let me know how it goes!”

When I told Andrew what our game plan was going to be for that evening, we were both a little hesitant but cautiously optimistic that it might work. We channeled all of our inner cool, nonchalantly called Audra into the kitchen, and asked her if she wanted some chocolate syrup as a treat. After her first spoonful of it, her face did give away that she thought it tasted kind of different, but it was a treat, and it was chocolate, so she gobbled it right up, not knowing she was taking her medicine, too.

My husband and I looked at each other incredulously. Did that really just happen? After weeks of struggling to get our daughter to take her medicine, the war was over. And a surprise benefit? It has worked for not only her EoE medication, but for other common over-the-counter needs as well.

Any time that we’ve needed to give our girls tylenol, cough syrup, or antibiotics, we mix it with a teaspoon of Hershey’s. And it works like a charm every time.

If you have a child who balks at taking medicine, whether it is a daily medication or otherwise, try mixing it with Hershey’s!

*Note: Always consult with your child’s pediatrician to be sure this is suitable for your child.

Showing 3 comments
  • Beth
    Reply

    Great suggestion! Where was this nurse when I needed her for all the stuff that used to gag my kids?
    We used to have an awful time with eye drops for pink eye until I discovered that they could lie on the sofa with eyes closed while I put the drops on the inner corners of their eyes and then they would blink quickly to get the medicine in.

    • Andrew Thomas
      Reply

      We love the nurse that gave us this suggestion. It was a total game-changer for us.

      Thanks for the eye drops tip, too. Those can be a battle. We let our girls listen to a Frozen song while they keep their eyes closed, which also helps!

  • Zequek Estrada
    Reply

    That’s pretty cool that your can mix your child’s medicine with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I wish my mom did that when I was little. Though I do agree with you that it’s good to check with a pediatrician before trying. Even though you got this tip from a nurse every child is different and unique.

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