This is easier than it sounds, but I promise you that any inability on your child’s part is psychological or technique. Both my boys were swallowing tablets at 3 years of age. Easily. So, unless your child has an impairment that excludes them from swallowing solid food, your child can swallow a tablet.

Firstly, let’s look at what I am talking about.
The standard dose of paracetamol (panadol) is 15 mg/kg until a maximum dose is reached of 1000mg (x2 500mg tablets).
The standard dose of ibuprofen (nurofen) is 10mg/kg until a maximum dose is reached of 400mg (x2 200mg tablets).

Weigh your child.

If your child is 20kg or more, they can have 1 ibuprofen tablet, which is 200mg.
If your child is more than 33 kg, they can have 1 paracetamol tablet. If you break it in half, they can have 1/2 a tab at around 16.5kg, but developmentally, that’s getting a little young.

You will need:
Milk. In a cup.
M&MS, Skittles, Smarties, Tic Tacs.
A child, in a reasonable mood.

Put the lolly in their mouth, as far back as you can (don’t get bitten!) and then get them to drink some milk.
The trick is that when people swallow food or fluid, their tongue moves in a particular motion. When you put something like a tablet in, the first instinct is to try to swallow the tablet, regardless of drinking fluid.
But, if you just swallow the fluid, it picks up the tablets and washes it down, easy as pie.

Try it yourself.

For every lolly successfully swallowed, give a lolly as a treat.
When it comes to the real deal, but the cheapest version of the drug (in Australia they must reach a certain standard, so go with what works and not necessarily the most expensive. Ibuprofen has no idea when you swallow it that it is meant to only act on your back pain, it all gets absorbed and distributed the same way.) but in a shape that is easy for the child to swallow.

Once they nail it with milk, you can try water.
If milk isn’t working, try a swallow of ice cream or custard, something with more consistency.

P.S. I take no responsibility for the information in this post. I post it in good faith, after years of experience as a nurse, with anything up to fully grown adults telling me that they cannot swallow tablets.
Use your own common sense, and if you come up with a better idea, let me know @