As a parent, it is difficult to really know if your children are getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and thrive. These days, there are articles plastered all over Facebook about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables…especially during childhood when the brain is growing and developing. I don’t know about you, but some evenings I look at the lack of color and variety on my children’s dinner plates and think that there is no way I am winning in this realm of parenting! #tellmeimnotalone
So, even though I am very aware that the best way to get fruits and vegetables into your children is to hide them in baked goods, I mean, always offer them these foods when they demand you get them a snack, there are just some circumstances where a child’s diet is just not sufficient.
My four-year-old daughter is a perfect example. Due to the tumor located just below her vocal cords at birth (called a post-cricoid hemangioma for anyone Google-ing that term), she has developed severe anxiety towards food, especially new food. Currently, she does not eat ANY fruits or vegetables. Not.a.single.one. #winning
After taking her to the doctor and getting blood work for nutritional deficiencies, we found that she was low on iron and started her on a multi-vitamin with added iron. The change was immediate. Her energy levels improved and her hair and nails began to grow. Now, she is a rather extreme case. What about a toddler that is a picky-eater? Or a school-aged child that is just defiant about eating fruits and vegetables? In these scenarios, what vitamins do kids really need to grow and thrive? Well, I’ve done some research, and I am happy to share my results!
- Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is made naturally by our bodies and can also be absorbed from the sun. We need vitamin D in order to promote bone growth and to properly absorb calcium. For those that live in rainy climates or for the long, dreary winter months when the sun is not always shining, supplementing our children with vitamin D is important!
- Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3 fatty acids have a wide variety of benefits including cognitive function. During the first three years of life, a child’s brain is growing and developing more than it is any other time. Studies show that omega-3s aid in concentration, hand-eye coordination, memory, and the ability to socialize. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids aid in vision and eye development. Since my eight-year-old struggles with ADHD, we have been supplementing his diet with omega-3 fatty acids for the past 4 years and have seen great improvement in his ability to concentrate at school!
- Probiotic – Our kid’s gut flora develops slowly and each time their exposed to an antibiotic (for say, an ear infection that won’t clear up on its own), it can be easily disrupted. Therefore, there is great benefit to adding probiotics! There are many studies that have proven the link between gut health and overall health. Studies have also shown a direct link between gut health and skin health! If you have a teenager that is dealing with acne or a young child with eczema, try a good probiotic!
- Calcium – Calcium is not only important for bone growth, but it also helps nerves and muscles function properly. The recommended daily dose of calcium can easily be achieved through dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. But, for kids that are dairy-free or don’t consumed much dairy, a calcium supplement can help them meet their daily needs.
You’ll notice that I am not making any brand recommendations in this blog post. That is because I believe that us moms should do the research on brands and quality ourselves to determine what works best for our budget and needs. There are sites out there, like ConsumerLab, that rate products and can help you decide. Just know – whether you choose to supplement your child’s diet or not, just caring about their nutritional needs makes you a great mom!
If you have any questions about finding the best vitamins for kids, please leave a comment! I am happy to help.
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