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How to Swallow Tablets

On this page you will find numerous “how to” posts.  Got a question, tip or an idea for a “how to”?  Email me me at

How to teach your child (or yourself) how to swallow tablets

The are often supplements that your children need, like Omegas or B-complex but that don’t come in kid-friendly forms. Teaching your younger child how to swallow tablet becomes a necessity.  I’m very picky about the supplements I use, and frankly, most of the supplements for children are not well tested.  My children are highly allergic and several are ADD, so in order to increase their nutrition, I end up giving my children appropriate amounts of my adult vitamins and minerals.  Many of my clients do this as well. This is why I use only Shaklee brand supplements because I can trust their quality, potency and safety.  This is what I do for my family, and is not medical advice.

Learning how to swallow supplements and medicines doesn’t come easy to everyone.  Often people are afraid to swallow a pill because they may bite it (natural reflex), and experience an awful taste.  Some are afraid that the table will get caught in their throat. The throat of a child over 2 years of age is approx 3/4″ in diameter.  It’s even bigger in an adult!  There is plenty of room for swallowing tablets. I don’t think anyone will be swallowing tablets that are 1/4 ” big!

Another reason people get tense and their throat constricts when they try to swallow tablets is a lack of calcium.  We have found that increasing someone’s calcium intake to the recommended daily amount
(RDA) usually helps relax the throat and swallowing tablets becomes easy. We use chewable calcium for this. (Yes, chewable calcium is very chalky.  Learn to swallow tablets)!

I tell my clients and children who have trouble swallowing to visualize the tablets going down their throat the way a small toy would quickly go over a waterfall.

Mom can use her own judgment, but it’s difficult to teach a child  younger than 5 years old how to swallow. I’m talking here about healthy children without developmental delays.

Start by getting some Mini M&Ms™. Your child will swallow these without fear. No one is “afraid” of candy! Then cut the vitamin tablet or medicine into mini- M&M™ sizes. Use a tablet cutter. You can get these for under $5 at any pharmacy. Have your child swallow cut tablet.  Be calm and natural.  Most swallowing issues are fear-based, not based on physiology.

In many cases, you can put the cut tablet in the bottom of a juice glass with a small amount of juice, milk, or water.  Some of the larger fun straws that are given as party favors are great for this. Don’t use the curly straws- everything will get stuck!  Put a straw over the cut up tablet piece, suck the juice through a straw and Voila!  The tablet is swallowed.  This works for adults too. Don’t do this with a quickly dissolving tablet!

Why can’t more come in a liquid, powder or chewable form?  Some vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants just naturally have a bad taste.  Quality manufacturers don’t want alot of additives in their supplements to make things taste better.  Tableting supplements is more efficient way to get the appropriate quantity delivered.

In other cases, the vitamin will not remain stable in solution and it will degrade.

Powdered supplements may settle in the canister, and the manufacturer cannot guarantee that dosage in each serving.

Swallowing tablets allows your child to expand into more targeted supplements, and makes it much easier to follow a program.  Teach your children how to do it.  Got a tip related to swallowing?  Share it in the comment section.

The Shaklee Corporation makes a line of excellent nutritional products for children.   They also have some powered and liquid supplements.  You can learn more about children’s products here. Got a question?  Don’t have a Shaklee specialist?  Please feel free to contact me.