How to Get Kids to Take Probiotics?
When you hear about bacteria, you automatically think about something bad, which causes an infection. However, there is more to the bacteria story than just an infection. The truth is, our intestines are full of both good and bad bacteria at all times.
Why the hype over probiotics?
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live in our bodies, which promote a healthy immune system and improves irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhea among adults.
The microbiome is the body's ecosystem. The ratio of microbial cells to human cells is 10:1; therefore, it is essential to support your baby's developing microbiome. From the time your baby is in the uterus and throughout childhood, their microbiome goes through tremendous changes. A few things that affect the microbiome's development are the placenta, type of birth and breastfeeding. It is vital to have a proper jumpstart to enhance your baby's microbiome development.
Sources of probiotics
Before purchasing probiotic medications, you should first nurture your child’s developing microbiome by incorporating a healthy diet plan that includes a wide variety of probiotic foods. Probiotics are naturally found in certain foods and are also sold in the market as probiotic supplements. Unless you have a doctor's prescription, you do not need to give your child probiotic supplements. Instead, offer the following foods to ensure a daily dose of probiotics into your child's gut:
1. Give your children sour foods
Apple cider vinegar and sour fermented vegetables contain probiotics and other additional healthy acids that sustain an optimum pH level, supporting the survival of your child's gut bacteria. To incorporate sour foods into your child's diet, you can start by adding at least one tablespoon of, say, apple cider vinegar to their drinks. You can also add more sour fermented vegetables like kimchee into their diet several times a week.
2. Start to feed the probiotics
These bacteria are living organisms. They require nutrients for fuel and encourage their survival. Ensure to feed your children high-quality prebiotic fiber foods that will promote the microbiome's development and sustainability. Some great prebiotic fiber sources are chia seeds, flaxseeds, organic foods and vegetables, sweet and regular potatoes. You can add flaxseeds into your child's smoothies to provide their probiotics with the essential nutrients they need to survive.
3. Probiotic pills
Different companies, including Sproutedbiome, have developed numerous high-quality probiotic supplements that can add healthy bacteria to your child's gut. Stay away from substances like antibiotics, which flush out and deplete the essential bacteria in your child’s body.
Encouraging children to take supplements
When it comes to probiotic supplements, it will not be easy to get your children to take their prescriptions. Sometimes it can be tricky giving children medicine that you know is going to help them. However, it is a lot easier for babies because you can wrap and feed them the medication.
Avoid phrases like "it tastes like candy" or "look, mum will try some first."
Medicines are never candy and should not be referred to as tasting like candy. Furthermore, it is not proper to show that it is good to share medicines. Telling your child that it tastes like candy or sharing medicine is teaching them harmful behaviors. They will tend to avoid feeding on anything that is not sweet, while sharing medicine can be fatal.
Keep track of dosages
Remember to read the label carefully and keep track of their dosage. You can keep a medicine logbook to track the times between doses.
Use of incentives
Incentives can help encourage your child to take the medicines. You can reward them with candy or toys after they are done taking their probiotics.
Never mix medicines of any kind with foods or drinks because if the child does not finish the portion of the beverage or food, there is no way of knowing what dosage they have received. However, take your child through the process by reading the instructions and explaining why they need to take the medication.
As a parent, you understand your child better than anyone else, which goes a long way in helping them incorporate additions in their diets. Come up with other creative ways that will encourage them to take their probiotics while instilling in them the discipline they will need to take medicine independently.