How to Help Children Learn to Swallow Pills

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The task of swallowing a pill often seems an almost impossible one to children. Some children experience such a difficult time with this task that they have to struggle to overcome the stress associated with pill swallowing. If your child’s eyes widen with fear when he spots a pill he must swallow, dedicate yourself to teaching him how to perform this task properly.

Step 1

Exercise patience. Every child learns to swallow pills at a different rate. As KidsGrowth reports, some kids don’t even master the skill until they are teenagers. By maintaining your patience as your child moves throughout this process, you can ensure that your pressure doesn’t add to your child’s stress.

Step 2

Check to ensure that your child is developmentally ready. As Northern County Psychiatric Associates reports, trying to teach your child to swallow a pill before he is developmentally ready is futile. If your child can’t swallow a mouth full of water without dripping, he may not be ready to tackle this task.

Step 3

Practice with candies. Start with small candies, such as teeny tiny sugary sweets, and challenge your child to try to swallow them. Gradually, increase the size of the candies that you challenge your child to swallow, praising him as he succeeds.

Step 4

Keep your child calm. Some children work themselves into a frenzy as they try to tackle this task. If your child does this, avoid pushing him. If he is worked up, he will likely not be that successful. Don’t push your child if he becomes agitated or scared. Instead, back off and try again at a later day.

Step 5

Create a distraction-free environment. While it may seem like a noisy TV would have nothing to do with pill swallowing, even the smallest distraction can prevent your child from being able to focus on the task. Take your child into a quiet bathroom and away from prying eyes to swallow his pill.

Step 6

Cut pills down to size. Ask your child’s doctor if you can cut down his pills. If you can, chopping them in half may make them easier to swallow.

Step 7

Place pills in foods. If swallowing pills with water proves to challenging, nestling them in yogurt or applesauce may get them down, and prove to your child that it’s possible to swallow pills easily.

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