7 tips for how to get kids to take herbs

21 Feb 2024 | Herbal medicine, Home herbalism, Personal and Family

Herbest 2023 - happy kids, grassroots herbal medicine community event and gathering. Image of two boys smiling, one with his face painted like a tiger.

You dream of using herbal medicine at home but then you actually get to wondering: how can I get my kids to take herbs!?

Well, If your kids are anything like mine, sometimes they’ll want the remedies and sometimes not.

So, keeping it real, here’s 7 tips you can use to get your kids take herbs.

  1. Start early and make it fun.

Remember that saying, the “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” No matter how young or old your kids are, the best time to get started is now.

Find ways to make herbs a tasty part of your family life. Whether that’s a ritual of herbal tea in the afternoons, lavender mist before bed, sprinkling cinnamon in cookies, using herbs in their baths, there’s an ENORMOUS number of ways we can introduce kids to herbs in our daily life.

By using herbs for simple, fun and delicious things, we’re not just equating them with medicine, so it’s more likely to have a positive association. Also, it’ll be easier for your kids to use herbs medicinally when sick if they’re a comforting, familiar part of your home, rather than something strange and foreign.

2. Make it delicious

When using herbs more medicinally, try to make it delicious – especially for younger kids. Herbal-infused honeys, syrups, gummies, herbal chocolates and yummy teas are all great ways to get herbs into kids.

For instance, elderberry syrup and fire cider are both really effective immune system stimulants, but I’ve had more success with elderberry syrup in my family. I know quite a few kids though, who don’t like overly sweet things, and fire cider might work better for them.

As with everything, my mantra is to find what works for you!

3. Try to sandwich crap in yumminess.

We’ve had some health challenges in my family that meant my kids had to take some pretty strong [aka disgusting] herbal medicine at times. Whilst we generally don’t drink juice, to ease them into it, I hid their tinctures in juice. It got them used to it, then I could gradually reduce it till they were used to these strong tastes. Note – even after all this, they still sometimes complain and I’ll still try to follow with a more delicious remedy where it makes sense to (or sometimes, with something else they want).

4. Start small and build up

Along that line of thought, it can take time to build up a taste for certain herbs, even for adults.

Say for instance you want to make them a herbal multivitamin tea (called a nourishing infusion). There are a few ways to make it more palatable and build them up. Start with a weaker tea by either using less herbs when you steep your tea, or make it as normal but dilute it. You could even mix it with a bit of juice. You know your kids best, so whatever will work for them.

Same goes for other remedies. Want them to take a spoon of something or enjoy the herbs you’ve added to foods? Start with a ¼ or even an 1/8 of a spoon. Get them used to it.

girl sitting in field of lavender.

5. Give them some choice

Like all of us, kids like some degree of control over their lives. When I’m thinking of how to get kids to take herbs, where possible, I give them choices that I’m ok with. Do you want this before or after dinner? Do you want lemon balm or chamomile?  It doesn’t always work, but it can be a good tip to keep in mind.

6. Make a game of it

Mary Poppins didn’t just sing ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ for fun you know! She obviously understood some of the above points, making it more delicious, but she also knew games and songs simply make things more fun (and she’s a book character who didn’t have to do all the chores herself, keeping it real 😂).

Depending on the age of your kids, and their personality, this could make it lots easier for your kids to take herbs

7. Hide it

When you’re ready to throw your hands up in despair – simply hide it. This isn’t always possible for more acute medicinal remedies, but certainly is for some general daily-use ones.

Whether that’s using herbal tea as the basis for smoothies or ice blocks, or using herbal broth as a base in stews, curries and soups, or medicinal mushrooms in chocolates or hot chocolates there are lots of ways to hide herbs in their foods.

BONUS – cause I just thought of another but can’t be bothered changing title to 8 tips 😂

Patience and persistence. When my kids are sick, I’ll patiently offer my kids remedies throughout the day. They might say no 5 times before they’re ready to take it. As long as this stays positive, I’ll keep offering, but I also know when to let it go.

This is just a few things we can do to make it easier for our kids to take herbs. Hope this helps and if you want a really simple place to start – check out our DIY Remedy Kits. I heard from a mom just the other day who said she and her son love the remedies in the kits and I know you’ll love them too.

About the Author

Cat Green

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