Peter asks: How do you get your kids to take their medicine?

Peter and Lisa have had it up to here with their medicine-fighting kid.

Photo: Lokibaho/

Ever since school started, it seems Addy has been sick at least every other week (which actually translates to every third or fourth day of class). The kid ended up with the sniffles last week. Her sniffles turned into a wicked cold and fever, which ended up hitting Peyton, then (and now) Lisa. Their prescription from the doc (and Dr. Mom) has been Children’s Tylenol and one of the only cough “medicines” (it’s homeopathic stuff) we can find for kids  under six.

No big whoop, right? I mean, the Tylenol comes in a whack of flavours — nothing like the crap our parents crushed up into juice (or… shiver… water) for us when we were kids. There’s berry burst that smells like a strawberry milkshake, bubble gum, grape-ity grape or some such, etc. Delicious.

But there’s one problem: Addy. Peyton begs for this stuff, downs it with a big grin and says how “YUMMMMMY” it is, then actually asks for more when she’s done. (And sometimes even cries when we tell her she’s had enough.) But Addy… Between me and Lisa, we’ve tried everything from asking nicely, reasoning, bargaining, begging, threatening, screaming. (I’ll admit — my frustration has reached the point where I’ve actually said I’d hold her down and pour it into her mouth and force her to take it.) The other day it took a sick Lisa more than an hour to get Addy to take one sip of her medicine. (Lisa’s mentioned her lack of patience in our blog before. Sick Lisa has even less patience than healthy Lisa.) And I’m pretty sure that the other day Lisa’s mom promised Addy she could have ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner if she swallowed her delicious strawberry-flavoured Tylenol.

Remember that whole “just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” bit Mary Poppins sang about? It clearly didn’t take much for those rich, bratty Banks’ kids to take their cough syrup. I’d let Addy eat an entire cupful of sugar if it meant we wouldn’t fight about 5mL of meds.   

So I ask: How do you get your kid to take their medicine when they’re sick? Lisa would prefer not to have to spend hundreds of dollars (like we did when we were desperate to get her to toilet train), so let’s keep financial rewards out of this. (Ha ha) There must be some tricks of the trade you parents have. Please share. We’re (as usual) desperate.

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