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"How Can I Get My Child to Take His Medicine?"

You needn't be Mary Poppins to help the medicine go down. Some ways to make it easier:

? Quit coaxing. From your kid's perspective, getting you to argue about it may be more interesting than complying, says Lowell Anderson, Ph.D., a pediatric behavioral psychologist at New York University School of Medicine. The harder you try, the more he'll resist. So stop trying  -- and stop everything else, like watching TV or reading a book together. Let him focus on what needs to be done. Then try again, and you may get results without a fight.

? Be sensitive to why he might be resisting. Maybe it tastes too bitter or it hurts to swallow because the pill is too large. Ask the pharmacist about alternatives like cutting a pill in half or mixing it with applesauce. Or find out whether your pharmacy uses the "FLAVORx" system, which can provide a choice of 42 tastes. To locate 1 of the 12,000 that do, visit www.flavorx.com. Professional "compounding" pharmacies can go even further  -- mixing some medicines (not antibiotics) into a gel that can be rubbed onto your child's wrist. Most cost between $35 and $45 with a prescription and are usually reimbursable by insurance. There are 3,000 compounding centers nationwide; to find one near you, call 800-331-2498.

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