Lightning Learning: Hard Pill to Swallow?
Many parents know that swallowing pills can be a real nightmare for some children. Swallowing is a complex action requiring coordination of many muscles. Emotional & psychological barriers also play a role. Hence, this is a skill that must be taught calmly and playfully to kids.
Start practicing with sips of water. Try different head positions to see which feels best. Then move on to “the homework,” i.e. practice with hard candy. Take a staged approach – starting small & working up.
Professor Bonnie Kaplan’s videos explain further and are a must see. Sign-post parents to them after explaining the basics described here.
Achieve each step five times successfully before moving forward…
Step 1: 100’s & 1000’s
Step 2: Sprinkles
Step 3: Cake toppings/edible silver balls
Step 4: Tic Tacs
*Step 5: Smarties/M&Ms
*If teaching a child to swallow a specific size tablet, the last step has to be bigger than the tablet you want them to swallow!
- Prof. Bonnie Kaplan's pill-swallowing videos recommended for parents
- Acceptability of different oral formulations in infants and preschool children
- Successful treatment of pill-swallowing difficulties with head posture practice
- A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? A review of strategies for making pills easier to swallow