Swallowing a pill is something that many adults and children have great difficulty doing. The fear of gagging causes the throat to tighten up so that the pill stays in your mouth until you spit it out. Fortunately, there are various ways to approach the problem so that you can relax and swallow pills with ease.
Taking Pills with Food
- Eat bread. Pull off a small piece of bread and chew it until you are ready to swallow. Before you swallow, take your pill and stick it in the mass of bread in your mouth. Swallow the food with the pill inside. You can also use a cookie or take a drink of water afterward to help it go down easier.
- Put the pill in honey or peanut butter. Get a spoon full of either food. Place the pill in the middle of the food and push it in. Now swallow the spoonful of honey or peanut butter with the pill. Drink water before and after this method.
- Try soft food. Try using applesauce, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, or jello. Make a small dish with the food. Drop the pill in the dish. Eat a little bit of the food before you take the bite with the pill in it. Then take the bite with the pill.
- Practice with small candy first. Take a small candy such as a sprinkle, nerd, or mini M&M. Put them in your mouth like pill and swallow with a drink of water. Repeat until you feel comfortable with this size. Next, move up to a slightly large sized candy like a skittle, regular M&M, jelly bean, or tic tac. Practice every day for about 10 minutes to work up to taking pills. Just make sure that you explain that taking pills is serious and pills should not be thought of as candy.
Taking Pills with Liquids
- Sip cool water. Sip your water a few times before trying to take the pill. Place the pill on the back of your tongue, then drink water until you swallow the pill. Keep drinking afterwards to help the pill go down.
- Two gulp method. Take your pill and place it on your tongue. Take a huge gulp of water and swallow the water without swallowing the pill. Next, take another gulp of water and swallow the pill too. Then take one last normal drink.
- Use a straw. For some people, using a straw to drink water helps the pill go down better. Place the pill on the back of your tongue. Drink something through a straw and swallow the liquid and the pill. Keep drinking afterwards to help the pill go down.
- Fill your mouth with water. Then, open the edge of your lip slightly to slip the pill into your mouth. Next, swallow the mouthful of water and the pill.
- Lean forward method. Place the pill on your tongue. Take a drink of water but don’t swallow it yet. Tilt your head down with your chin towards your chest. Let the capsule float to the back of your mouth and swallow the pill.
Calm Your Fears
Anxiety can be a significant factor in preventing a child from swallowing a pill. Relaxation is important. Find a quiet place, listen to calming music or meditate. Some children may be worried the pill will not fit down their throat. To help squash this fear, stand in front of a mirror. Open your mouth and say “ahhhh”. This will show you how wide your throat is and that the pill can clearly fit down.
Download the PDF