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SWALLOWING PILLS

Wow! Is this tough for some kids! Others see it as a rite of a passage to becoming grownup. No more spoonfuls of yucky colored stuff.

One of my stepsons was a gagger. He had a terrible time swallowing pills. When my children were small I crushed pills and put them in applesauce. When my mother in her late 90’s had trouble swallowing her medications, we used the old applesauce trick.

I had no trouble teaching my grandchildren to a swallow pills. I used mini-sized M & Ms that were exactly the size of the malaria medicine they had to take. Of course the trip to Africa was a big inducement!

HEINS HELPFUL HINTS ABOUT TEACHING KIDS HOW TO SWALLOW PILLS:

First of all, do not give any unnecessary medication especially for self-limited stuff like a cold. Always FOLLOW DIRECTIONS whether the medicine is prescribed by the doctor or over-the-counter.

Never open a capsule or crush a pill or even break a pill in half unless the doctor or pharmacist has said it was OK to do this.

When it is nearing the time for your child to transition from medicine in teaspoons to pills, have your child watch you swallow a pill so the child sees that it is no big deal.

Start with the straw technique. Place the pill on the back center of the child’s tongue and have the child drink liquid quickly through a straw. Obviously you must have the straw and liquid ready as a pill left on the tongue will cause gagging which is just what you want to avoid.

It’s a good idea to have the child take a drink before attempting the swallow. Kids who are sick often have dry mouths.

If the child is having trouble (gagging, vomiting, unable to get the hang of it) try putting the pill in applesauce and let the child spoon it up, Never put a pill in food unless the child knows you are doing it. This could lead to trust problems later.

If you have time and the child is not sick, you can make a game of learning this new skill using small food like cake decorations and working up to an M & M.

Learning this skill is a big accomplishment so provide lavish praise and superpraise which means you tell Daddy or Grandma how big Jimmy is, he can swallow a pill!

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