My kids just recently learned to swallow pills. Yes, they were older when they finally learned how to swallow pills. It was so difficult to get them to want to do it. I didn’t want to push them until they were ready, but so much time passed without them learning how to do it. Finally, we pushed them to practice and they finally figured it out. My dad is a pro at swallowing pills. I was amazed when he went in for surgery and could swallow several pills at once without liquid. I didn’t even know that was possible!
Not being able to swallow pills became a challenge as my kids got older. My son had to take 4-5 pills because of his size and age. We tried oral disintegrating pills, liquids, and chewables. Kiddie-size pills are more expensive, come in smaller quantities, are harder to find at the store, my kids only liked certain flavors, and even then they don’t always have a great taste or texture. My oldest had to take a really yucky antibiotic and after that she forced herself to learn how to take pills so she wouldn’t ever have to taste that medicine again.
Finally, my kids “figured it out”. I’d recommend trying a variety of tactics since each child is so different. Remember that they have to be ready. Here are some things you can try…
- Practice swallowing a small candy like a sprinkle than gradually move to something bigger like a Tic Tac, mini M&Ms, or mini mints.
- Get lots of practice on several different days.
- Try using a straw.
- Place “practice pill” on your tongue and take a drink to wash it down.
- Teach them earlier…Like as early as 4 when there is less anxiety. Trust me-It is so much harder when they are teenagers!
- Take a drink of water first to moisten your mouth.
- Use a water bottle, put the pill on your tongue, form a tight seal with your lips around the bottle and drink.
- Put the pill on your tongue, put some water in your mouth but don’t swallow, tilt your chin toward your chest, and swallow.
- Here’s a video they can watch showing how to do the above two options.
- No matter what you try, they need to be motivated to try it. This can’t be forced. Ask them if they want to learn.
Make sure they understand that medicine is not candy. Also, put the medications in a safe place where your child can’t get into it. We had a rule that they had to ask me first before they took any medications so I could check correct dosage for their age and weight. Even as teenagers they still ask me what they should take for headaches or muscle aches.
Now that my kids are able to swallow pills, we have found the individual packets are great for taking them to school. Our schools allow OTC medications if they are in a labeled, sealed package. We buy Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve in the travel pouches for them to take to school, or on trips.
Good Luck! Don’t give up! Your kids will get it and it will make your life so much easier when they can finally swallow pills!
Things that inspired me.