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Teaching kids to swallow pills
Old 06-28-2020, 06:03 PM
  #1

Any tips? I have an almost-ten year old who really needs to learn this skill, because she keeps getting prescribed medication that would be much easier to take as pills.

We started tonight using mini chocolate chips to practice. I told her to take a drink of water and then put the pill (choc chip) in, kinda tossing it to the back of her mouth. But she never manages to actually swallow it.

I donít remember when or how I learned how to do it. Please share your strategies!


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Old 06-28-2020, 06:13 PM
  #2

Some kids just can't. I was like this as a child. I still struggle with it. My best technique is to put the pill very very far back on my tongue- as far back as I can get it. Balance it there carefully, don't toss it back. Then a gulp of water. Sometimes using cold juice (pick a flavor that your child loves) instead of water helps.

When I was a kid and I just couldn't, my mom would generally pulverize the pill (or cut and empty the capsule) and mix it with a teaspoon of sugar and water. The old "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" trick. Also, many pharmacists can prepare medication into a syrup. You can't do this with any medication that is specially coated for time release or whatever, but it will work for most meds.

I would not recommend using a chocolate chip to practice, not even a mini one. They are shaped kind of pointy and I think would feel very uncomfortable being swallowed. You don't want to create an association of discomfort.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:15 PM
  #3

I had a terrible time as a child. I remember it being such an ordeal that I went with the no teach method. When my kids got old enough for pills I just told them if they didn't want to taste it they could toss it in their mouth and take a big swig of water or put it in a a big spoonful of applesauce or ice cream and swallow it whole and they did. I tried to make it so nonchalant that it never occurred to them they wouldn't be able to do it, but rather they were just choosing to. Neither child had an issue. (And like I said, it was a huge traumatic thing for ME to learn to swallow a pill - complete with my siblings making fun of me, parents getting mad, the whole bit!) They were surprised when I was so excited that they just swallowed it down.
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Tic Tacs
Old 06-28-2020, 06:19 PM
  #4

I had my son use Tic Tacs to practice.
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Children learning to swallow pills
Old 06-28-2020, 06:20 PM
  #5

I don't recall how to teach children to swallow pills, but I remember visiting my cousin when we were around 9-10 years of age and she had an absolutely terrible time swallowing pills. Even as a child, I remember it being heart-breaking to watch her cry and scream through the whole ordeal. I should give her a call someday to see if she is now able to swallow them...

Anyway, I look up some advice and this article seems to make sense...
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/swallowing-pills.html

This one is similar to the previous article with a few variations
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...-swallow-pills


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Old 06-28-2020, 06:25 PM
  #6

My brother was terrible with pills (he probably still is but thankfully doeesn't ever need meds). I can take 8-10 at a time.

I remember my mom gave him a pill with jelly and that helped.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:43 PM
  #7

I wasnít able to take pills until I was in college.

My mom would crush any medication that was prescribed (if we couldnít get it in liquid). She would buy BC powder for me to take if I had a headache or anything.

At one point I just was able to take pills... not sure how I actually learned. Now I can take multiple at a time without a problem. Large horse pills still give me some issues but I make it work
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:08 PM
  #8

I couldn't take any pill that wasn't small and round until I had my tonsils taken out.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:10 PM
  #9

Sounds like you've gotten some very helpful tips. I'd start with the mini M&M's.

Something I read and works for me is to tuck your chin down rather than tilt your head back. Not sure why it seems easier but it is for me.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:11 PM
  #10

When my father was older we put his pills in a spoonful of applesauce. Would that work for her?


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Old 06-28-2020, 07:11 PM
  #11

I learned how to do it by hating vegetables. I refused to chew them, So I'd put them in my mouth, take a drink, and swallow. I could swallow a spoonful of peas or half a broccoli floret if necessary.

DH, however, still has issues. He fills his mouth with water first, and then slips the pill in. The fact that it never touches his tongue helps somehow.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:31 PM
  #12

Iíve heard of people having their kids start with sprinkles. Lol.

I taught my little sister kind of like the pp who said they were super nonchalant about it. I just stood there with water and had her take a big sip. Hold it in her mouth. Then slip the pill in and swallow the whole thing ( water and pill). Then take another big drink. It took a couple tries but she learned. Lol. Biggest thing Iíd say is stay calm and do not rush her. If she gets anxious itíll be harder.

Side note I taught her bc my dad taught me. He wasnít around the night my sister needed to learn bc of some meds she was prescribed and our mom struggles even as an adult to swallow pills and even as a kid I said I could not allow her to try to teach my sister. 😂😂😂 I made my mom leave the room. I was such a bossy kid. Oldest child syndrome. My mom always says I was a motherly child always trying to take other kids under my wing. I suppose thatís the type of incident she was referring to. Lol.

If that doesnít work Iíd try applesauce. That seems very popular.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:36 PM
  #13

When I was a girl, my mother had me roll up bits of bread into little balls and swallow them to practice. I don’t even think it was with water. I think the thought was if you can swallow the little bread ball without water, you can swallow a pill with the aide of water easily.

Last edited by CricketSong; 06-29-2020 at 06:52 AM..
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:01 PM
  #14

I tend to prefer to put pills in my mouth, and then take a big drink of water. Almost like drinking "normally" rather than trying to slip the pills in with a full mouth of water. Downside is sometimes I taste the pills (ick), but I usually don't have much trouble. Maybe this could work for her?
I second trying mini M&Ms or Tic-Tacs.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:22 PM
  #15

DH taught DSS to swallow pills using M&Mís.

I was taught using applesauce. (Pudding works, too.) Plop the pill into the applesauce, swallow the spoonful. Done. One of my coworkers taught her daughter to swallow pills that way. She was grateful when I told her about it. Her daughter was getting to the age where she couldnít get liquid in many things she needed.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:30 PM
  #16

Side note- make sure you ALWAYS swallow pills with water. I would sometimes swallow them dry and got horrible ulcers in my esophagus. Anyways. Word to the wise!
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Pills
Old 06-28-2020, 08:31 PM
  #17

Many pills and capsules should not be crushed or opened. Putting my pills on a spoonful of applesauce or pudding makes it easier for me to swallow. Then follow with a glass of water.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:58 PM
  #18

I learn at least one thing from PT every day. I honestly never knew swallowing pills was a problem for anyone. And so many of you!
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Put the pill
Old 06-29-2020, 02:41 AM
  #19

In part of a fruit roll up. Itíll slide right down.
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Tips
Old 06-29-2020, 02:42 AM
  #20

https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/...wallow%20pills
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Ditto
Old 06-29-2020, 03:45 AM
  #21

I also take a big slurp of water, keep it in my mouth, and then slip the pill in. It floats in the water, and all I need to do is swallow.
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Pills
Old 06-29-2020, 05:10 AM
  #22

Weíve tried mini m&ms, tic tacs, bribery, a special pill swallowing cup, and nothing has worked yet.

A friend just suggested this https://www.amazon.com/Phazix-Pill-S.../dp/B07YBCQS94 but we havenít tried it yet.

I shouldnít be surprised as I had a difficult time swallowing pills until I was 18...
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:08 AM
  #23

I have no advice. My DS was swallowing pills at 2 years old. He hated liquid meds and I said the only other option was a pill, but that was for older kids. He tried and never looked back. Such a weird kid!

DD was about 5. She saw big brother taking pills and decided she was done with liquids too! She even swallows most without water. Another weirdo! 🤣
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:50 AM
  #24

I learned this way... bend forward, put the pill in my mouth, then swallowed with liquid. This way you use your own force to swallow, so as not to choke on it with gravity.
Also, I used juice to take pill. It was thicker and seemed to help.



I couldn't take pills for a long time.

Last edited by SoCalTeach; 06-29-2020 at 07:38 AM.. Reason: Add info
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Ice cream
Old 06-29-2020, 07:14 AM
  #25

When I was younger, my mom used to put it in a spoonful of ice cream and then I just swallowed the ice cream! YUM!
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:39 AM
  #26

My DD never had a problem but my DS was a whole other story. DD is 4 years younger and even got in on trying to show DS how to swallow pills. He would always say my throats not like everyone else's. He got to where liquid medicine would be in 2 large bottles for his dosages. I can remember him trying to take a pill and throwing up in the drug store parking lot and we had to go back in and try to get liquid instead. He did have large tonsils and adnoids (sp) that were removed but even after he still have trouble. He's now 26 and does much better.
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Swallowing Medication
Old 06-29-2020, 10:35 AM
  #27

I wasnt able to swallow pills until I was in my early 30's and I still gag on them sometimes. I have found using a straw and soda or something carbonated helps a lot. Start by having your child put some of the liquid in her mouth, then have her toss in the pill trying to get it in the back of her mouth. Then take a drink with the straw and swallow the pill at the same time. It's mostly a psychological issue for me and if I think about what I'm doing I'll gag for sure. I still keep children's chewable Tylenol for when I really need something. Thank gosh I only take Tylenol a few times a year, but I do take other daily meds. Its a constant struggle and have had to throw away many pills and start again with a fresh one.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:20 AM
  #28

It's only been the last few years that I learned how to swallow pills. I swish warm water, hold it in my mouth, then pop the pill in, and swallow. I still do it over the sink (just in case), but I haven't had much trouble swallowing even horse pills now and I can remember gagging on birth control pills--and you know how tiny those are!
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:49 PM
  #29

I think a spoonful of ice cream is a great idea because you don't have to chew it. It just slides down your throat. My mom used to put our pills in a little piece of bread or piece of banana. We just chewed slightly and swallowed. It seemed easier when it was a food you were swallowing because you do that all the time. But, I would definitely try the ice cream!
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Use juice and walk while swallowing
Old 06-30-2020, 11:00 AM
  #30

I still have a hard time sitting and swallowing pills. I drink juice and walk across the room. It works. I also take a small sip first without any pills.

Good luck.
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