My 3.5 year old daughter has some liquid antibiotics medication she needs to take for an ear infection. However, it's been very difficult to get her to take it. We tried to mix it with apple juice (OK'd by the pharmacist) and it was next to impossible to get her to drink it. We resorted to threats of needles instead, bribes with chocolate, begging, etc. but it was not easy. She got so agitated she almost threw up what we had given her.

Today is day 1 of the medication, and she'll need to take it for a few more days at least. I don't want a repeat of today's difficulties. Are there any other ways to get a 3 or 4 year old to take liquid medication? What's worked for you? Thank you!

asked 21 Mar '10, 23:36

Chris%20W.%20Rea's gravatar image

Chris W. Rea
accept rate: 34%

Is it a question of not wanting to take it, or not liking the taste? My three year old son has been sick A LOT this winter and got fed up with US giving him medication... So we gave it to him in a pre-measured oral syringe and let him administer the dose, it solved our problem. He loves the control (supervised, of course).

He also hated getting eye drops when he had pink eye this year - they stung. In desperation we resorted to "rewarding" with smarties (the chocolate kind), one per eye. He only got them if he received the drops with little fuss... He was receptive to this as he got to chose which type of treat he would be getting, and got to choose the colour of smarties after the drops each time. Have you considered asking her what she would like to have (within reason, of course)?

Barring that - any chance of getting a different flavour?

Good luck!


answered 22 Mar '10, 01:52

Krista's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

edited 22 Mar '10, 15:03

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller


Thanks for the suggestion about control - we do have a measured oral syringe and I'll try asking her to do it herself today. It could be the taste, but she could be against taking medicine in general.

(22 Mar '10, 11:34) Chris W. Rea

liquid antibiotics do taste fairly revolting so it may be the taste that she doesn't like. However, I still think this is a good idea as control can make an unpleasant thing seem less unpleasant (it works for me as an adult anyway).

(22 Mar '10, 22:08) Meg Stephenson
  • 1 for somewhat handing over control. My husband did something similar with our daughter, in that he gave her the responsibility of making sure that she reminded us to give her medicine. In addition to this he would spend quote a lot of4 time talking about how it was so unpleasant being ill, and reminded her of all the things she was not able to do... And how it was now mostly up to her...
(22 Mar '10, 22:20) Emi

@Meg You are soo right. Liquid antibiotics do taste revolting...just the thought of the pink penicillin we were given as children in the UK make me feel awful.!

(23 Mar '10, 09:02) Emi

OK - I tried offering our daughter control, and showed her how to use the oral syringe, but no go - she still wouldn't take it and we had to resort to bribes, threats, & tantrums again :-( It was a good suggestion, but didn't work with my child.

(23 Mar '10, 11:46) Chris W. Rea

I tried threats with this problem to no avail, but now instead I use fairy-tale-like stories involving characters from books my son and I have read as well as characters from televisions shows to convince him that, in fact, it is imperative that he complete his course of treatment.

Children are impressionable, so I am not sure if it is unfair to do this, but it does work.


answered 22 Mar '10, 13:50

Rick's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I liked your point about stories... in the long run and as their levels of being impressionable decreases I would change my approach so as to avoid any trust issues.

(22 Mar '10, 22:26) Emi

Thanks - I will try this for getting my daughter to take her meds later today.

(23 Mar '10, 11:48) Chris W. Rea

We didn't end up having to resort to a story - after the first two days she got used to our bribes and with only a little bit of reluctance she took her medicine in exchange for some chocolates :-)

(24 Mar '10, 22:34) Chris W. Rea
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 21 Mar '10, 23:36

Seen: 14,033 times

Last updated: 22 Mar '10, 15:03