Everything you need to know about the benefits of vitamins and how to get kids to take them.
How Do I Know if My Kids Need Vitamins?
First of all, not every child needs a daily multivitamin or supplement. If you have the time (ha) and resources and to plan perfectly balanced meals it’s very possible for your kids to get all their required vitamins and minerals from their diet.
But truth be told, none of us are perfect and your healthy meal plan may still benefit from an added boost. If any of the following apply to your family, it could be beneficial to consider a daily multi. Your kids:
- Are picky eaters, refusing or hiding foods
- Have medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems
- Has food allergies
- Eat a high percentage of fast food and/or processed foods
- Are on a vegetarian or a vegan diet, or can’t or don’t eat dairy
- Drink a lot of soda, which can block mineral absorption and may contribute to Vitamin D deficiency
Remember, even the most eager eaters can have a few nutritional “gaps” and that’s exactly what supplements are designed to offset.
Benefits of Vitamins for Kids
If you and your doctor determine that daily supplements are right for your family, there are plenty of benefits to gain:
- Immune Boosting: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are all known immune-boosters commonly found in children’s multi-vitamins – keeping your kids in school and out of the doctor’s office (and your hair).
- Energy Boosting: Multivitamins that are rich in B vitamins can help support kids’ metabolism and help them convert food into energy.
- Tooth and Bone Strength: The combination of calcium and Vitamin D are especially important during early childhood and adolescence; that’s when most of our bone mass is formed!
- Muscle Growth: Vitamin A supports protein synthesis, Vitamin D is also vital for muscle contraction and energy metabolism, while Vitamins C and E protect muscles from damaging free radicals. Perhaps most importantly, Vitamins B6 and B12 have a direct role in protein metabolism.
Tips to Get Kids to Take Vitamins:
- Gummies: Gummy vitamins are every bit as effective as “horse pills” and tend to taste better than the chalky, chewable varieties. They’re a bit pricier for sure, but in the grand scheme of things, not nearly as expensive as all the pills your toddler spits out and wastes.
- Liquid Vitamins: Yes, liquid vitamins are a thing, and unlike gummies or pills, your kids don’t even need to know they’re taking them. If it’s a mental block keeping kids from taking their vitamins, mixing a liquid supplement into their juice or a smoothie may be the way to go.
- Make it a Routine: Like brushing their teeth, establishing a regular routine makes it clear that an activity is non-negotiable part of the day. Just like eating dinner before dessert, try making vitamins a prerequisite for something more pleasant (like iPad time) and see if they change their tune.
- Ask for Help from Someone they Respect: Do you ever feel like you tell your kid something 10x, but it doesn’t stick until their cool Aunt swoops in and says the exact same thing? Kids can be very open to the power of suggestion, but it depends entirely on who is doing the suggesting. (What does Mom know anyway? She only made you.)
- Switch The Time: Is it possible that multi-vitamins are giving your kids an upset stomach? If so, it’s often because they’ve taken one on an empty stomach. Try giving your kids a pill or gummy after they’ve had something starchy for breakfast, or diluting a liquid vitamin in their morning juice. If this doesn’t stop tummy aches in their tracks, consult your doctor – it’s possible your multivitamin is too potent for your little ones’ little stomachs.
There you have it, our 5 best tips for getting kids to take their vitamins. Do you have tricks of your own? If so, tell us in the comments!